The Broken Dreams of Russia
“He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted”
With our longstanding dream of returning to Russia coming onto focus, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and theologizing about the concept of dreams. I’m not talking about those dreams we have in the night, but the dreams we have – when we admit it – during the day. Is it OK to dream? The answer I’m coming to is a resounding YES. How did God build us? He built us with gifts, a calling, personality, a place to be born and raised in, and a time to live our lives with purpose and passion. All of these things come in a unique combination that makes us who we are.
As my ministry colleague Michael Johnson puts it:
“To be truly effective in [reaching] people it’s important to understand that the Holy Spirit has been speaking, wooing, calling, and inspiring people from their earliest childhood. To tap into someone’s heart, and help them recognize and understand God’s voice, is to midwife true identity and purpose. This can and should be the natural work of Christ-followers who in concert with the Spirit are well-equipped to ‘coax out’ God-given dreams, encouraging the stories, that move The Story on.”
Michael and I have been working this notion of dreams into everything we are doing to encourage congregational involvement in citywide transformation through our ministry, The Community of Dreams Alliance. We see dreams as the path that God uses to transform us into His image. That is, He has a dream for our lives, and as we follow those dreams back to the Dream Giver, as Bruce Wilkinson puts it, we find ultimate purpose, meaning, and true relationship with Christ.
Redeeming God’s Dreams for the Children of Russia
How does this relate to our future in St. Petersburg? Our dreams for the needs of the lost children of St. Petersburg are only growing. Moreover, our desire to connect with people who’s hearts are drawn to Russians is also growing, because we know most people can’t do what we are doing, but so many want to be a part of God’s plan for Russia. We want to build bridges! Rescuing children is good, but it doesn’t dignify them with what God has dreamed for them. Our dream is to empower the children to follow their God-given dreams and become leaders and agents of change themselves!
This is why I am now completing my certification as a “life synthesis” coach, which is a core component of my calling and how I envision being used in the transformation of St. Petersburg, complementing my ministry of counseling, networking, and citywide visioning. The essence of coaching is that of coaxing out God’s dreams for individuals, families, churches, and communities and helping them walk out that path of obedience to that call.
Acting On Dreams
I’ve been talking with our daughter Lydia about her dreams and asking her to reflect on her gifts and what gives her delight and fulfillment. One of her dreams is to minister to the poor. A few months ago, Lydia and I were in downtown Richmond, and we came upon a man who was begging. We got into a conversation with him, and I asked him his dream. His touching answer was this: “My mother owns a home that is too run down for her to live in, and my dream is to get a job so that I can fix it up so she can move back in.” He loved Jesus, and we stood there together, holding hands as we prayed for his dream. Lydia was on an incredible high for the rest of the evening, seeing God’s hand in empowering her dreams to bless another man’s dreams. This becomes not only a paradigm for how I want to raise my kids, but offers a glimpse into how we want to function in Russia.