Follow Your Dreams: A Nightmarish Look At Doing The Exact Opposite [Part 3/4]

Before I was introduced to WordPress.com, I used to post my musings on Myspace and Facebook. I came across this gem in my archives and thought I would reshare with my new WordPress.com family. Check out the continuation of this blog from 1/5/2011.

…One more time, how many of us actually follow our dreams?

Although this discussion could go on without end, there is an issue that hinders us from achieving our dreams or even helps to abort our dreams. It’s something that we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another and it’s definitely something that most of us suffer from on a regular basis… following someone else’s dream. Why do you think companies all around the nation have mission statements or vision goals or any other variant of the company credos? So that you’ll know their dream for the company in order for you to follow it. If you’ve ever seen a singer or musician on stage or a preacher in the pulpit or an artist painting a picture and said “Wow, I wish I could do that?” (knowing that God hasn’t given you the ability to sing, play an instrument, preach, or draw), then you’re following someone else’s dream and not being real with yourself. Because God has placed greatness and gifts and talents and desires on the inside of YOU (that are specific to you and you alone), following someone else’s dream is a quick way to unknowingly end your dream very slowly and very painfully (with an unexplained unfulfilling feeling every single day). The best way to say this is in a two question format… something a little like this:

“If money wasn’t an object, would you be working the job that you have right now?

If your answer is “no”, then what would you be doing?”

FYI… keep in mind that the Bible says that a man who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10) so if your answer to the second question is “nothing”, then dreaming isn’t for you either. This post is for those who know that you’re destined for more and not achieving it right now. I heard a pastor say one time that the graveyard is full of unfulfilled dreams. Are you planning on adding to that?

Parents tell their children, “Follow your dreams!” but do the parents actually believe that statement? Parents make sacrificial allowances for the child to be busy (church, school, sports, karate, music, etc), but do they show “following a dream” through action and demonstration, or is it that they want the child to do WHAT THEY ARE TOLD and not WHAT THEY SEE in hopes that the child will do something greater? Let’s say that these parents never followed their dreams. The children have no evidence to back up that “follow your dream” statement and (whether you know it or not) children are notorious for copying their parents. Those children grow up, become parents, and tell their children to follow their dreams. Of course, without any demonstration on how to do that, those children grow up and do the exact same thing and the cycle continues. In this scenario, there are three generations of people told to follow their dreams and do the exact opposite. To follow your dreams requires stepping out on faith. The Bible says that faith the size of a mustard seed moves mountains (Matthew 17:20), so how come we have trouble simply realizing the God-given dream on the inside of us?

My conclusion… a dream works when you wake up and work the dream.

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Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S CLIP: I remember playing this song back in college. Loved it back then and still do. This is “Moanin'” as performed by Quincy Jones and His Orchestra (oh yes… back in the day Quincy Jones had an entire orchestra). Enjoy!

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

Follow Your Dreams: A Nightmarish Look At Doing The Exact Opposite [Part 2/4]

Before I was introduced to WordPress.com, I used to post my musings on Myspace and Facebook. I came across this gem in my archives and thought I would reshare with my new WordPress.com family. Check out the continuation of this blog from 1/5/2011.

…So, how many of us actually follow our dreams?

When we dissect where physical dreams come from, it simply starts with literally laying down and going to sleep (i.e. a period of rest). When we think about the regular schedule of daily living, how many of us rest long enough to even have a dream? If you think about the 8+ hours every day of the work week that you’re working and add to that all of the stuff you do in the evening and on the weekends, I doubt that you’re even in bed by 11pm or later. Although it is said that we should follow our dreams, we’re really taught to burn the candles at both ends in a feign attempt to get ahead in life (whatever your definition of “ahead” is). Add a child (or children) to that and your dreams skip to the back burner pretty quickly because the child needs you… all of you… and won’t take “no” for an answer. If we were to take it up an analogical notch, an unanticipated child is probably like an alarm clock going off right in the middle of your dream. Don’t get it wrong, children are a blessing and no child is a mistake, but if you’re not ready for them, then it can be challenging to you and your dream (unless having children IS your dream).

Again, how many of us actually follow our dreams?

In keeping with the dream analogy, there are many stages of the sleep cycle. When you physically sleep at night “your body goes through a distinct set of associated physiological, neurological, and psychological features” (thanks Wikipedia). When you have a dream, are you doing the same thing? Because God has placed greatness and gifts and talents and desires on the inside of you, are you experiencing a distinct set of associated features? Are you working that distinct set of associated features? Or is it possible that because your focus is not specifically on your dream that you are ignoring your distinct set of associated features (or worse) thinking that you don’t have any? When we follow our dreams, there’s a big difference between “thinking about something” and “dreaming about something”. Thinking involves no work. For example, I could think about being a cardiac surgeon all day long and I would be fulfilling the mandate because it’s just a thought. However, if my dream was to become a cardiac surgeon, then that takes waaaaaaaaaaaay more “blood, sweat, and tears” in order to achieve the dream. The bottom line is that even when you are physically sleeping, you are working. How much more would you do to follow your dream for your life? If you are working on your dream now, keep working and don’t give up. On the flip side, if you are afraid of the work (whether it’s the amount of work, the difficulty of the work, or the possibility of failure from doing the work), then dreaming is not for you.

(*If you’re still reading this, the “zip” in “zip code” is actually an acronym for “Zone Improvement Plan”. Just making sure you’re still paying attention. J )

One more time, how many of us actually follow our dreams?…

Follow Your Dreams: A Nightmarish Look At Doing The Exact Opposite [Part 1/4]

Before I was introduced to WordPress.com, I used to post my musings on Myspace and Facebook. I came across this gem in my archives and thought I would reshare with my new WordPress.com family. Check this blog out from 1/5/2011.

If you have ever said to yourself, “I want to be a ___________ when I grow up”, then this post is just for you.

My wife and I have some of the most intellectually tasty conversations in the morning. Amongst discussions of a downtrodden economy, a depressed workforce, and an even more depressed unemployed mass, this morning brought to the surface a quote that most high school graduation speakers say to most bright eyed, ready for the world graduating classes all over the planet… follow your dreams.

But how many of us actually follow our dreams?

Due to the circumstances of life, liberty, and the pursuit of money, most people have fearfully sacrificed their personal dreams in lieu of following the prescription for the American dream. And if you think that the American dream is that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” (as stated by the man who originally coined the term, James Truslow Adams, in 1931), then you’re wrong. As with most perverted things, this idea started off as a great idea, but, over time, it has come to mean “the relentless and persistent pursuit of gaining more (money, houses, position, power, etc) and losing even more than that in a failed attempt to find a spiritual substitute for the greater One that should be living on the inside of us all.”

For example, have you ever been sitting at home watching a reality TV show and wondered the following:

How is this lady on a housewives show on Bravo TV? She’s a divorcee! (or) She’s about to get divorced! (or) She’s not even married! (or) She doesn’t even own a house!

Maybe I need to go to rehab because those facilities are way better than the Holiday Inn I stayed in on my last vacation 6 years ago.

I can’t believe that this football/basketball wife will not leave her cheating husband.

These guys are kicking each other in the privates. How do they get their own show?

That teenager is pregnant at 16 years old. How did she get her own show?

I could go on and on and on, but you get my drift. Are these people really following their dreams? Somehow I don’t think that getting pregnant at 16 is a dream for any teenager. Moreso than that, I don’t think that any wife would ever want to discover on national television that their husband of x amount of years is cheating on them. However, television has caused us to follow their nightmares on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis (I know because I’m guilty of it myself).

So, how many of us actually follow our dreams?…

Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S CLIP: I remember playing this song back in college. Loved it back then and still do. This is Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” as performed by the Mingus Big Band. Check it out.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

Spreading the Gospel Way Too Thin?

Let’s start with a scripture defining the Great Commission:

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:16-20 (NLT)

Now let’s follow that up with the scripture defining what happens when the Gospel gets twisted, diluted, and stretched so thin to the point where it doesn’t really look like gospel anymore:

“But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.” -2 Peter 2:1 (NLT)

(keywords: “cleverly teach”)

Now think carefully about this question. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about these church-based, reality TV shows:

“The Sisterhood” on TLC

“Preachers’ Daughters” on Lifetime

“Preachers’ Wives” on Lifetime

“Preachers of LA” on Oxygen

Moreso than that, what are these TV shows “cleverly” teaching you?

When the church starts to look more and more like the world that creates a huge problem with the true witness of the overall church. The scripture says in 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) that we are a peculiar people. “Peculiar” by definition means “unusal, belonging exclusively to or identified distinctly with somebody or something”. The question is how can an individual be “unusual” and “distinct” if that individual looks like every other individual.

TV producers aren’t so concerned about spreading the Gospel, but understand that they are not fools either. They are in the business of “ratings and attention” because that equals “dollars and cents” and nothing generates more ratings and attention than “Christians acting in a non-Christian way”. What TV producers don’t realize is that there’s a difference between “Christians” (followers of Christ) and “church-folk” (people who attend church) and the real Christians who are trying to be “Christ-like” in their walk are still works in progress, but ultimately there should be some evidence of that “work in progress” which is something you will never see on TV.

Nobody’s perfect, but that’s not the mandate because the only perfect person to walk the face of the Earth was Jesus Himself. The mandate is to be Christ-like. To try, to the best of our ability, to be more like Him in everything that we do by applying the scriptures to our everyday living. TV shows produced to generate “ratings and attention” at the expense of spreading the Gospel way too thin OR discrediting the Gospel altogether is a problem for the Body of Christ at large. Don’t get it wrong, I like to be entertained by a good TV show, but when it comes to “pimping out the church” for ad revenue, it reminds me of this passage of scripture:

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. -Ephesians 4:11-16 (NLT)

There’s that keyword again… “clever”. Think about it.

Sometimes All It Takes…

…is a leap of faith.

(at least that’s how the song goes)

With God there are no coincidences so it’s no surprise that this blog is actually a “part 2” of the blog I posted last Wednesday titled “Lord… Why NOT Me?” While I was at Famous Daves at a family dinner, I heard this song come over the PA system. Famous Daves is a rib joint known for it’s blues-based musical selections, but this one caught my attention. I don’t know if it was because I had just gotten out of Sunday morning service, or the fact that the previous week was more challenging than I thought, but when I heard the hook to this song it made me say “OK God… I hear you” (and YES you can hear God through blues music).

What was the hook that caught my attention? Glad you asked. Went a little something like this…

“Sometimes all it takes… is a leap of faith.”

Which reminded me of this particular scripture…

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” -Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)

And how does the song go? Well… check it out. I don’t know if this is the original writer or not, but it sounds mighty similar to what I heard in the restaurant. Here’s Mingo Fishtrap performing “Leap of Faith” at the House of Blues.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

Also, if you happen to know who the original writer of this song is, I’d love to know that too. The guy in the clip says it at the beginning, but I can’t really make out what he said.