Andrea and I recently go the chance to head back to Georgia to perform a wedding for two of our close friends. It was an amazing trip. Not only did my gorgeous wife convince me to dance at the reception, I got to go on a "mini-ministry tour” to talk about all that God is doing in Portland. On Sunday my pastor invited me to speak for a few minutes in all three morning services at our sending church. Later that evening, I got to preach at a new partner church. It was a really cool service. At the end, the missions pastor gave a head nod to the congregation, and 30+ people surrounded me to pray. Last but not least, during our final night in town, I got to share at our former college ministry.
It was all a bit surreal. I just kept thinking, “wow— this is actually happening. Jesus is moving and we have things to talk about!" In a lot of ways, we have a LONG way to go in our journey to plant Spring of Life Church. However, I can’t believe that some of our dreams are beginning to come true. This mission has been such a personal dream for so long. Sometimes it feels strange to share it with others…but it also feels amazing.
Dreaming vs doing
The world is full of dreamers. I am one of them. I have waaay more things that I would like to do than things I have already done. This experience caused me to dig deep, and ask myself: what is the difference between dreaming and doing? I think there is a key factor that always sets the two apart — SACRIFICE.
Lots of people heard our amazing ministry updates that weekend. Only a handful saw how painful it was to pack up our suitcases, and step on the plane. This is the first time we’ve left Georgia without knowing when we would come back. If I’m being uncomfortably truthful, I always get a little depressed when I get back to Portland. It takes a few days to shake off the blues. We’ve learned that this is just part of the process. We love our ministry, and we never doubt our calling. However, we would be foolish to deny that being 3,000 miles away from our family brings on a very real pain.
We’ve begun to learn that pain is not the enemy. It’s a necessary part of living out a vision. You might get what you want, but it will probably hurt at some point along the way. This is a normal part of life -- in every area. In order to reach a fitness goal, it requires sacrificing time and preference (or so I’ve heard). In order to reach new heights in academics, a person has to give up some of their free time. To move forward in a relationship, other acquaintances might be neglected.
There are a lot of dreamers, but not a lot of people who are willing to pay the price for their dreams. I know this in a personal way. For years, I was one of those people. In some ways, I still am.
purpose behind the pain
Sacrifice is clarifying. It forces me to take stock of what I really believe in, and to pursue my calling with everything I’ve got. Sacrifice also connects me with the heart of God. The very substance of the hope I have was born out of sacrifice. I’ve been made whole because a loving God sacrificed something of immeasurable worth — His son Jesus.
God didn’t just dream about the redemption of mankind. He paid the price. If we ever want to get anything done, that’s exactly what we have to do. Investigate your dream long enough to understand the cost, and then make plans to pay it. Then pay it again. And again. That's the only way we'll ever see our dreams come true.