by Kenny Rader
Do you remember your high school graduation and the dreams you had? What profession did you dream of entering? What places did you dream of traveling to? Or maybe the question was, what person did you dream of marrying? I hope all of us have dreams that we have wondered about. Maybe you attained those dreams or maybe your dreams remained dreams because they never came true. Maybe your dreams never came true because you never pursued them.
One of my dreams was to travel the United States on motorcycle. I had hoped to take a summer and just roam the country: no plans and no place to have to arrive at. That dream never came about.
Another dream was to attend Bible College and go into ministry. I visited Bluefield College of Evangelism in the beautiful mountains of Bluefield, West Virginia. From there I traveled down to Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, Tennessee. I also checked out other colleges, but those two colleges in West Virginia and Tennessee seemed to have my heart.
I decided to work one year before going to college, but during that year I fell in love with a cute little redhead and my dreams turned into, “What ifs.” Because of that redhead, my life changed directions. I married Martha. We had three kids and I went into farming, which was my other dream if I didn’t go to college. So, actually, some of my dreams did come true and others remained dreams.
Sometimes I wonder, “What if I had gone to college rather than staying home, getting a good paying job, and marrying Martha.” Please understand, I am not sorry about the life I have lived. I have no regrets about the girl I married, the kids we have, and our grandkids. My personal what if question is, “What if Martha and I had left the farm and gone into ministry much sooner than I did?” My answer is that I would have likely had one of the best minister’s wives I could have asked for, and I would have enjoyed ministry many more years.
So, what have I learned by my experiences? I learned that we can’t look back and dwell on regrets. Sure, we all have some regrets but we shouldn’t dwell on them. We have to accept life where we are and make the best of it. God blesses you, but sometimes you have to look for your blessings rather than dream or wish for something else.
I have also learned that it might not be too late for you to go for your dream. It may not be as easy as in the past, especially if you are now married and have kids. You need the cooperation of your spouse and you have to weigh the cost to your family. Please, please, please never do anything foolish that might hurt someone else, especially your immediate family.
I have learned that dreams will remain dreams unless you act on them. When Martha had cancer, we made the decision to go into ministry, so that decision had been made. When Martha passed away, I left for Johnson Bible College less than a year-and-a-half later. While leaving our home and the farm was extremely tough, the entire process was much easier than I expected. God was with me and I was unwavering in making it work.
Faith and trust in God along with sheer determination on my part got me through the process. I had so much faith in God that I told my kids that if I go to college and seminary, only to die soon after I graduate, do not get angry with God or question my decision to get the education. (Why would they care? Because I spent their inheritance!) If I devoted all that time and money, only to die before I accomplished anything in a paid ministry position, I figured that God had a purpose and I should trust Him. Maybe He wanted me to cross paths with someone and I might help inspire him or her to become a Christian or to do great things for God. I resolved I would not question God on the decision to leave everything behind and serve the Lord.
Where am I going with this? Simply put, never give up on your dreams as long as they are dreams that will magnify God. Your dreams may not take you into full-time ministry but your dreams can glorify God in other ways and reach people for Him.
What if you went for your dreams? What if you and your spouse made a life-changing direction that meant you would need to totally depend on God? What if you decided to sell everything and become a missionary? What if you decided to become a Christian politician? What if you, as an adult, went to college as several of us have done here at Rousculp? What if you bought a business that would glorify God? What if you decided to actively push back against the agenda of many liberals in our country? What if you decided to really stand up for Christ? What if you are retired and much older (oops, I mean mature), yet you decide to get more active in the church, such as in teaching? Cleaning? Volunteering for our internal ministries? Community outreach?
What if we, here at Rousculp, decided to do great things for Jesus? What if we really take to heart what Jesus tells us in the Bible? What if we reach out to the community for Him? What if we do something that will make a real impact in the community?
Do you know of anyone in the surrounding community that needs some sort of help around the house? What if we learn of someone in the community that we can make minor repairs on their house? What if we clean up someone’s yard? What if we paint someone’s house?
We are so full of what if potential! What if we dreamed great visions here at Rousculp and what if we lived out those dreams and visions?
Did you know that victory leads to victory? Once you and I start living out the actions of the Church, we will see a victory. And once we have one victory under our belts, we will attain a second victory. And as we build victory upon victory as the body of Christ and as Christians in our daily lives, we will realize that victories come much easier. Momentum builds momentum. Victories build on victories.
Jesus asked His disciples who people said that He was. Peter replied that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt. 16:16). And Jesus’ response is powerful.
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
– Matthew 16:17-18 (NIV)
Read that last part of Matthew 16:18 again.
“. . . and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Is Jesus winning the battle against Satan or is Satan winning the battle over Jesus? Look around. What do we see in this country? Who is winning? Jesus or Satan? What do we see in our community and local school? Who is winning? Is it Jesus or Satan? Look at us here at Rousculp and the impact we are having on our community? Are we/Jesus winning or is Satan?
Look at yourself as an individual? Are you living for Jesus or are you living for Satan and the ways of the world? Are you living totally committed to Jesus or are you half-living for Him?
What if we take the fight to Satan? What if we take the fight to the community? What if we make a difference for Jesus in our homes and in our communities? Life is full of what ifs. What if we really live for Jesus?