“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. – Genesis 37: 19 (NIV) A shot rang out in the Memphis sky on April 4, 1968 and killed the man who had a dream. The bullet could not however kill the dream itself. Today is the day our country sets aside to honor the dreamer and take note of how far we have come in the realization of that dream. While this country has come far since that fateful day, most would agree there is still work to be done. Work to be done in healing what divides us as a nation. Work to be done for those who face discrimination. Work to be done for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed. Let us not forget that before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist, he was a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dreams are powerful things beloved. They reach beyond what is into the realm of what could be. Dreams are made up of potential. They provide vision for the future. They provide goals to strive towards. They provide a framework for moving forward and direction that is so desperately needed in these murky times. We see people every day who live without dreams. They exist from one experience to the next. They do not see connection nor desire to. Life happens to them instead of being lived by them. It is the victim mentality the world sells us. The notion that we cannot control things. That we just have to learn how to cope. That there is nothing more beyond what we see. Dr. King did not believe the world was like that. Neither did Jesus Christ. In so many ways Jesus dreamed of the opposite of what the world was selling. Jesus dreamed that people could genuinely love each other and serve God. He believed that people would actually be able to tell we are Christians by the love we show each other. He believed that people could repent of their sins and come to the Father through Him. He didn’t care what the Rome around Him thought. He didn’t care what the religious leaders around Him thought. He only cared about what the Father thought and to that end He was willing to lay His life down so that we might live again with God. Because at the end of the day you can assassinate a dreamer but dreams themselves are bulletproof. The key verse today comes from the life of Joseph, who had been given a dream by God that he held onto for decades until it came to fruition. This verse itself is spoken by his brothers who were very jealous of Joseph, not only because he was the favorite child but because he had the temerity to share his dream with them. I did not choose the verse because of some great theological revelation that has been imparted to me but because my hope is that this is how people would look to me as well – oh no – here comes that dreamer. Here is a moment of brutal honesty. It is not always easy to take the harder road. I recognize that sometimes the things which God uses me to write about may not be well received within the Christian community at large. In those tougher moments God gives me Scriptures to hold onto: “Enter through the narrow gate.For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV) I am always taken back to a more obscure text in the Old Testament where Jehoshaphat goes to speak with King Ahab So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”“Go,”they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquireof?” The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hatehim because he never prophesies anything goodabout me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”“The king should not say that,” Jehoshaphat replied. – 1Kings 22: 6-8 (NIV) I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me. I think too often in the modern church we are seeking the 400 prophets who will tell us God is on our side. God is on our side even in the middle of our disobedience, heresy, and false teachings. Micaiah would simply tell Ahab that he can only tell him what God says. Amen. So as we stop as a nation to celebrate the life of a dreamer, I wanted to pause and say that I too have a dream. I dream of a church without spot or wrinkle. I dream of a church that is more interested in the personal growth in Christ for the membership than the size of the membership itself. I dream of a church that refuses to compromise and allow the leaven of the world into its sacred halls. I dream of a church that recognizes it is the small amounts of leaven that do the greater damage. I dream of a church that derives its leadership principles from the Bible and not the secular experts of this world. I dream of a church that allows God to add to the number being saved daily as He sees fit according to Act Chapter Two so that we stop building buildings and get back to building the Kingdom. I dream of a church that lives by the Word that God and what He has said He requires - to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before our God. I dream of a church that correctly recognizes that it has no place in politics. That neither party cares for the cause of Christ. I dream of a church where the Great Commission is no longer the great afterthought. I dream of a church that says no to the theories of modern church growth and gets back to simply preaching the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ. I dream of a church that does not fall for the latest Christian fad or top selling book just because it is popular. I pray for a church that is not purpose driven, emergent, or believes that drawing circles in the sand will change the sovereign will of Almighty God. I pray for a church that correctly understands and teaches about the spiritual side of Christianity so we can eradicate the growing wave of spiritual ignorance. I dream of a church that teaches blessings are things God has given us – not things we do not have yet. I dream of a church that teaches true prosperity is spiritual in nature, not material. I dream of a church that does not seek carnal solutions to spiritual problems. I dream of a church that says no to the new wave of Christian entertainment disguised as worship – that we actually pay attention to what we are saying in the lyrics. I dream of a church that can tell the difference between a move of the spirit of God and emotionalism. I dream of a church where the altar of God is looked upon with reverential awe and the pulpit is treated accordingly as well. I dream of a church that looks first inside of itself before seeking to assign blame to a world that is fallen and walking in darkness. I dream of a church that goes after the one sheep that has left the fold. I dream of a church that goes out to the highways and byways with the love of Christ and not the morality of religion. I dream of a church where we all remember where God found us. Where humility and love are what the world sees instead of judgment and hypocrisy. I dream of a church unified behind only one thing – Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I know…here comes that dreamer. Today however is a day to dream and any dream worth dreaming is worth dreaming big. Thank you God. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Dr. King. Rev. Anthony.