Embodying God’s Dream

Over the course of the past couple weeks, as part of our Stewardship Series, we have been considering what dreams we live out in our day to day lives. When asked how life is going, and if it is going well, some people respond, “Just living the dream.” But for many of us, we may define differently what the “dream” is supposed to look like. It may look like a home with a white picket fence, 2 kids, and a dog. It may look like a successful career in business where you are the CEO of a company. It may look like a comfortable retirement where you get the opportunity to see family on a regular basis.

And yet, as we consider the dreams for our lives, what is God’s dream for our individual lives and corporate life?  Last week, I shared God’s vision for the world. God’s vision for the world is nothing less than the transformation of it in its entirety. The world suffers on a daily basis. Much of this suffering is the result of our own doing.  And yet, God’s dream for the world is to restore all things and make all things new. God’s intention is not for the world to be destroyed, but be renewed. And this is the end toward which God is working. There is coming a day when there will no longer be mourning, crying, and pain. There is coming a day when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.  Death will finally be defeated.

God’s project of renewal began with humanity.  God didn’t start the project with the animals or the plants, but with us.  And God’s dream to begin the renewal project in us manifests in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s dream for the world. It is in Him the world is set on the course toward redemption, and we, as humanity, discover what our dream should be, what our life should be like. Moreover, God handed over responsibility to us through Jesus to continue the project of restoration, reconciliation, and renewal. Though we don’t do this alone, God’s Spirit goes with us. God still needs us in this project. We each have an important role in this project of making all things new. God needs our hands, feet, hearts, resources and energy. And God doesn’t just want one of those, God needs all of them.

This coming Sunday we will be talking about God’s dream for our congregation. It is one thing to think about the big picture; it is another to consider locally what God’s dream looks like in our context. I do hope you will join us this Sunday as we listen for God’s dream for Jacksonville First UMC.  Moreover, I would encourage you to bring your Stewardship packets and offer them to God this coming Sunday. Not only do they help us organize for the coming year, it is also your offering to God of how you can join God’s dream. Thank you so much for your commitment to God and this congregation as we strive to see God’s dream for our world and the community of Jacksonville become a reality.

Grace and Peace, 
Nathan Kilbourne 

Senior Pastor