I'd like to say
I read a lot of
books, but it isn't really true.
What is true is that I start a lot of books and I
buy a lot of books. I got rid of 20 boxes last summer and 10 more
boxes this summer.
I have heard various approaches to buying
books, like, "I never buy one book till I finish the one I am
reading." Or, "Whenever I see a book that looks interesting, I wait
two weeks to make sure it is something I want to read."
My approach works pretty much like this: if it
looks remotely interesting to me, I buy it. I doubt I finish 5% of
the books I start. There is a sizable percentage of books that I buy
that I never even finish the first chapter. Every now and then, I
will go on an Amazon rampage looking for books on a particular
topic, and I will buy a pile of them. As I look around me just now,
I see a couple that I don't even know for sure if I have opened or
Every now and then, I run across a really good
book and I actually finish it. Sometimes, if it is a really great
book, I will read it more than once. Sometimes, if it is a super
great book and it is available, I will buy the audible from
www.audible.com or get the
CD. (I am a slow learner; sometimes, I need the repetition.) A few
books have videos as well and if they are good enough, I might get
I have read Bruce Wilkinson's DREAMGIVER twice. I
have listened to the audio twice. I am almost finished watching the
Video. This is a reasonably good book!
How important is the dream?
One of the things that Bruce Wilkinson points
out is that dreams are not an added extra to life. They are not a
bonus for people who need an extra challenge. They are not the
icing; they are not the cake; they are the meat and potatoes. They
are not incidental to life any more than the basket is incidental to
basketball. There are other parts of the game, to be sure:
dribbling, ball handling, passing, team-play, off court stuff like
weight training and watching films. But, there is a reason they call
the basket the goal. When we score we call it a goal. It is the goal.
It is the point. It is the object to the exercise.
The BIG DREAM that the DREAMGIVER
has for each
one of us is central to our lives. It is the point. It is easy to
get caught up in the busyness of taking kids here and paying bills
and earning a living that we fail to make a life. The life is all
about fulfilling the calling that God has for each of us.
Paul said, "I press on toward the goal to win
the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philip. 3:14 (NIV) He had a calling, a dream, a goal, a
passion--something that pulled him forward.
Bruce Wilkinson rightly points out that this
calling has to do with meeting some big need. The BIG DREAM that the
gives to Ordinary is not about buying a big house and
driving a fast car and sitting in a comfortable chair in front of a
big screen TV. It is about helping someone, building something,
writing something, preaching some sermon, feeding someone. In short,
it is about living out kingdom life.
One of the things that makes this books so
compelling to me is the life that produced it. I have known of Bruce
Wilkinson for years and watched his life and ministry from a
distance. He was rocking along, doing a good work for God through
Walk Thru The Bible Ministries when God placed his hand of blessing
on him through the little book The Prayer of Jabez--based on an
obscure verse in the Old Testament and a prayer that Bruce has been
praying since seminary days. That book shot to the top of the New
York Times best seller list. He has sold over 22 million copies of
books (all titles) to date. (A context here: a book that sells
100,000 copies is considered a huge success.) To say that he was at
the pinnacle of his career and had it made is a gross
What did Bruce do with all that fame and
fortune? He followed his dream. He moved to Africa to see if he
could help bring in the kingdom of God in Africa. What do I mean by
- To feed the hungry through Never Ending
- To clothe the poor
- To stop the spread of AIDS
- To find fathers for the fatherless
- To preach the gospel.
It is a big need and a BIG DREAM to meet that
need. Bruce Wilkinson is living out the message of the DREAMGIVER.
www.dreamforafrica.com for details--but be careful, you just
might find yourself being touched by a BIG DREAM and following Bruce
How difficult is the dream?
The books I read (or start reading) all fall
under one category: how to.
- How to grow a church
- How to live the Christian life
- How to pray
- How to communicate
- How to have a great marriage
- How to evangelize
- How to run a business
- How to lead
I have read a lot of these books. It is one of
the reasons why I don't finish most of the books I buy. I have read
enough of them, that they all start sounding alike after awhile. I
had a friend who used to say to me, "Never read a book you could
have written; never attend a conference you could teach."
Most of these books have a bad habit of
oversimplifying. Sometimes, it is even in the title:
- Seven simple steps to an effective prayer
- Three easy ways to retire early and
- Spanish: Fast and easy
We all wish it were true. We wish it so
strongly that when someone tells us we can have it and it will be
easy, we believe them. The DREAMGIVER
is not one of those books.
Bruce Wilkinson is very straightforward about the difficulty of
following the DREAMGIVER's dream for your life. If you would follow
your dream you can expect some of the following obstacles:
- You must discover your BIG DREAM. Your
BIG DREAM may have to do with supporting the BIG DREAM or
others. Not everyone is a leader. God created far more followers
than leaders, and it is a good thing. Your BIG DREAM may involve
supporting Bruce Wilkinson's BIG DREAM and going to Africa to
plant a Never Ending Garden. I'd invite you to follow my BIG
DREAM of helping the kingdom push back the darkness by living
out group life at its most base level--the small group, and
seeing that group
grow and divide,
grow and divide, grow and divide.
- You must get out of your comfort zone.
The BIG DREAM is always outside of your comfort zone.
- You must overcome the Border bullies--real
life people (normally friends and family members) who discourage
you from following your BIG DREAM. It is helpful to find a
Border Buster who can help you break out of Familiar toward the
- Next comes wasteland. This might
be a good time to point out that much of this parable has strong
connections with stories in the Bible like Joseph's story,
Moses' story and the story of the people of Israel leaving Egypt
to follow their BIG DREAM to go to the land of promise. Did they
enter a wasteland? So will you.
- Sanctuary. Bruce Wilkinson calls
this an optional part of the journey, but a necessary part for
any true God-follower. After the wasteland and before fighting
the giants, God calls you aside to restore your soul.
- Giants. Israel faced giants and so
will you. Some of the giants include Moneyless, Corruption,
Rejection, Failure. In order to realize your BIG DREAM, you must
conquer each one of these.
- BIG DREAM. Like any good story,
this one has a surprising twist at the end. The BIG DREAM is not
the end; it is only the beginning.
How many dreams are there?
Following the DREAMGIVER is a way of life. It
is not something we do one time, but many times. We accomplish one
dream, and then, that becomes our new land of Familiar and the
DREAMGIVER gives us a new BIG DREAM. Bruce has been working this
process for years. Now, his BIG DREAM is for Africa.
Dreams come simultaneously in different areas
of our lives. In one area we may be in the wasteland. In another area
of our life, we may be just getting started, understanding our BIG
DREAM or facing our border bullies.
This book came at a good time for me. My BIG
DREAM has been to help the capital C Church double by helping small
groups and Sunday School classes double every two years or less. I
also had a BIG DREAM to keep my kids fed. For years, I struggled
with the giant of Moneyless. I thought for a long time that I could
conquer this giant with the sword of Video. But, that proved to not
be the solution for me. About 2.5 years ago, I scrapped video
production and began concentrating on doing more conferences. I have
doubled the number of conferences that I do and, and I am happy to report
that Moneyless has been fatally wounded, though it is not dead yet.
I had worked so hard on this sub-dream, that I almost forgot the big
picture of the BIG DREAM. This book helped me to refocus on the task
of helping as many teachers as I can to double every two years or
I am going to be experimenting with some
options to double and then double again the number of people I speak
to. I can't double the number of meetings--I am away from my kids as
many nights a year as I care to be. So, the next battle is doubling
the number of people at each event. With the wisdom the
provides, I will pursue the slaying of that giant. What an
Christianity is not
just about sipping tea and crumpets with Jesus. It is
also about pursing the dream that he has for your life. Pursue it