Growing up, I’ve had many different dreams, and I assume you did too.
At one point in my life, I really wanted to be a comic book artist. I was so into the comic books, and the way they made me feel, and how they transported me into their world. I remember how much affinity I felt towards Jim Lee because he was Korean. And he was so talented! I’d start off by tracing his X-Men. Then trying to draw from muscle memory of some sort. It was a heartbreaking realization that I could not draw good enough to be considering that as my way of living. And, my parents threw away most of comic books. Jokes on them, I still read comic books and still watch wrestling! Ha!
Then, around high school, I discovered K-pop. And there was this group called H.O.T. My favorite member of that group moved in ways I’ve never seen a person move, at the time. And I thought, man I need to learn how to dance like that.
Of course, almost like everyone I knew, I had dreams and ambitions to make it into the music industry. Until I realized it was my brother who got most of the musical genes. But that was okay. By that time, I knew that God had a dream for me.
In the beginning, I thought God was just toying with me, because ministry wasn’t a dream I had, it was a nightmare.
As always, God wins.
But that didn’t mean the dreams had to stop.
I think having dreams are healthy. As long as we don’t get so lost in them that we ignore our responsibilities.
And I so admire those who give up everything to chase their dreams, because I don’t know if I could be that guy.
But, that doesn’t mean I should stop dreaming. Within serving God, and following the dreams God may have for me, I still have some dreams of my own, that are far more mature and more thought out than being a rockstar, a comic book artist or a street dancer.
During my interviews for ordination, someone asked me, “If money was no option, what would be your dream ministry?” At that time, I answered that I’d like to serve at some sort of a coffeehouse setting. Not a church that has a coffeehouse, but a place where it’s first, and foremost, a coffeehouse that serves great coffee. And on evenings and weekends, it will be a church, providing ministry opportunities. There is a huge difference between a church that has a coffeehouse, and a coffeehouse that is a church, at least for me.
But now, if someone were to ask me that question, I’d have to say, my dream appointment would be at an urban setting, where during the day time, we offer job training for adults, tutoring for kids, after school programs, AA meetings, teaching English to those who may need to learn, to teach reading, to really address the needs that my surrounding community needs. And I mean, real training and teaching; not hiding it with some sort of evangelical agenda. When reading would be taught, we wouldn’t have to use the Bible. In the evenings, we’d offer Bible studies, small groups and worship celebrations.
They wouldn’t be expected to attend the Bible studies or church, though they would be encouraged. All of this would be done in the name of God through the love of God. And hopefully, our approach would be so irresistible, that they would see God’s fingerprints all over the ministry.
I know some would disagree with that approach, that God should be displayed everywhere; that the lessons, training and teachings should revolve around the Bible; that the people who partake in our ministries should do so with the understanding that they attend the church. But this is my dream. So go away.
Another dream that has been forming in my heart is writing a book.
I know I’m not the best of writers. My wife points out all my grammatical mistakes in my blog posts, weekly ministry updates, devotions, etc. And there are many. (She does it to help me out, of course).
It took me 3 years or so, on this blog to feel comfortable with my voice and style of writing.
One of my college professors went out of his way to let me know how much of a bad writer I was/am. “You write like you talk,” he once wrote, “and the way you talk is incorrect.” Turns out, I’m glad I write the way I talk, because it helps me when I’m writing my sermon manuscript. And the way I talk? I ain’t gots proper talk in me, but I has heart in my words. Or something. I realized that my speech is colored with a bit of ESL, a dash of broken pidgin, a sprinkle of Asian-ified ebonics, a pinch of southern drawl, and a lot of stammering and stuttering. But it’s 100% me. 🙂
I have had lots of ideas for a book in the past recent years.
But I keep asking myself, why does this dream exist? Is it for personal achievement and glory? Or is it really something that God has placed in my heart? If it’s the former, it’s not worth exploring. If it’s the second, then I’m sure eventually that doors will slightly open for me. If it’s neither, it’s still nice to have a dream. And I am okay if it never happens. Would be thrilled if it did.
And I don’t think we should ever stop dreaming.
And I’ll be damned if I were to ever tell someone that their dreams are stupid or worthless. They’re not. They’re yours. Dream as far as your heart can reach. Don’t listen to the haters. Haters are gonna hate.
And the most amazing thing, for me, that can happen is having our dreams align with God’s dreams for us.
What were some of your dreams earlier in your life? What are some of your dreams now?
And as C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
May we continue to dream!
And may we also, all discover the dreams that God has for us!