The Awakening

Following your dreams is part of living a godly life.

Douglas Poole
Jan 6, 2019    29m
This sermon by Pastor Douglas Poole talks about the fact that we all have dreams of what we want to do in life, that we often feel a pull toward them. But life gets in the way, and we proceed through life half asleep trying to survive, not thrive. But we need to wake up, because part of living a godly life is following those dreams that will allow you to fulfill the purpose God has for you in life. Video recorded at Clearwater, Florida.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Douglas Poole: 00:01 Well, happy New Year everybody. I'm delighted to be in this space with you and starting this. This is our third service of our weekend, and I'm looking forward to 2019 because I'm convinced to the core of my being this year is filled with so many possibilities. Wonderful possibilities, you know, for us as a church, and for for you as a person, for me as a person. And I've become convinced to the core of my being that there's so many wonderful possibilities before us, because I believe that God is in the year, and that God is for us, and that he'd really truly does have plans for us to give us a hope and a future. He is a good God, and a powerful God, and so there's possibilities going with this new year that I believe are absolutely wonderful. Because I think God just delights in creating the future, and creating a beautiful future, and I think he delights in doing it with people like us. Because I've come to the conclusion that, you know, 2019 it's going to be, there's hope for 2019 because we're in it. I really believe that to the core of my being, because this year with God and his help, we're going to do some remarkably beautiful things again this year.

Douglas Poole: 01:10 And I know you realize, I hope you understand, because this has been our history. But this year they're going to be hundreds of children in St Louis du Nord, Haiti who are going to be given an education, who otherwise would not have that opportunity. And some of these kids are being pulled out of human trafficking, and I think that's an absolutely beautiful thing in building the future that we're a part of. There are orphans in Nakuru, Kenya today, some of whom on streets, and some who have been abandoned, who are going to have a home, because we're involved with Molly at Springs of Hope, Kenya. And these kids are going to get not just a home, they're going to get a hope for a future, because it's a beautiful place to put folks. And if you can't wrap your mind around the beauty of what's going on there, I don't know how to help you at this point, because I just think is just an amazing thing we're get to be a part of. The hungry are going to be fed, those who were despairing are going to find hope, those who are sad are going to find joy, and those who were seeking God are going to find faith through him in Jesus Christ. These are beautiful things, and the possibilities that we get to be a part of this next year. And not only do I think that these things are beautiful, but I think what makes him even more beautiful for me, is that we get to do it together. You know, the Cypress tribe, that we have each other.

Douglas Poole: 02:31 I've told some other pastors, you know, I love what I do and I love who I get to do it with. And usually what I hear in return is, oh, it must be nice, because I don't really like the people I'm the pastor of. Sucks to be you, I guess, you know, I don't know. But I just love what we do, and I love the people that we do this with, and so it just makes it more enriching for me. So let's go into this new year with the belief that we have a hope, and we have a future, there are possibilities. So let's go boldly into this year. Because what I'm hoping to see happen is that we become all of who God wants us to be this year, we do all that God has laid out for us to do this year. So much so that by December 31st, and then when we turn and we look around back at the year, we just find ourselves just saying, wow, wow, yay God, yay God, yay God for what has happened here in our midst.

Douglas Poole: 03:31 So welcome to Cypress, and I'm going to stick in a couple more comments, and pray, and I'll start my talk. So I won't charge you for all of that right there. But there's three things I'm asking from us, from the Cypress tribe. And I'm going to probably have to repeat it next week, because they're going to be still got quite a few folks away on break. But three things. For these things become a possibility, you know, it just takes all of us coming together and rolling up our sleeves. The first thing when I ask you all of all of us is, 10/10 in 2019, 10/10. And that is you're in church every single weekend. Unless it's 10 above zero, or it rains 10 inches that day. That's all I'm asking, just that 10/10 baby, that we're here every weekend to experience what God has for us. And the second thing I ask is just invite, invite, invite. You know, people you work with, your neighbors, your friends, associates, you know, invite them to come and experience the grace of our God that we have in this community here. So invite people to come and to join, and invite folks to be a part of all that's going on here in our midst. And then finally this, asking this, five minutes, five minutes. That is after every service, take five minutes either in the auditorium or out in the patio, five minutes to meet somebody you didn't know before you came to the service that day. Just five minutes, get acquainted. I'm wanting us all to get better connected with each other, and I'm hoping we get some opportunities to get all three services together in the same place, the same time. But to get connected with each other, five minutes, have a conversation. I mean, today it's a layup, right? Because we're serving a chili. How awesome is that? A cup of chili, and take the initiative, don't wait for somebody to come to you. Take the initiative, walk up, introduce yourself and engage in a conversation. So 10/10 baby 10/10, invite, invite, invite, and then five minutes at the end of every service.

Douglas Poole: 05:31 And I'm going to tell you something, Jackie and I are doing again this year, that I'm going to invite you to, and then I will pray and we'll get into the topic at hand. Last year during lent, we recommended a book for you to read daily, and it's a book that gives some, it follows the life and the teachings of Jesus every single day. It's just a short reading every day. You read two or three verses from scripture, and this is by Eugene Peterson, and then he gives some thoughts, just a short paragraph, and then he writes a prayer. And we encourage you from lent leading up to Easter last year, you were just to daily read this. It's called, Praying the Message of Jesus. Praying the Message of Jesus. So Jackie and I did this, and then we found ourselves everyday, we would read it. We read it at breakfast, I make coffee, she's making omelets. We sit down, and we get it out. It takes sometimes four minutes, sometimes you know eight minutes, not long. But we were just saying, oh wow. You know, I felt like he brought me into this truth through different door I have ever walked before. There were times they just felt profound, and it just touched us deep inside of us. So we decided we're not going to stop last year at Easter, so we read through it all this last year, and now we decided we're going to do it again this year. It was that significant for us. And so if you're really wanting to know Jesus, or maybe deepen your walk with him, I highly recommend this. It's called Praying the Message of Jesus, and you can order it online. And if you want us to order it for you, we will, we'll charge you for it. But just on that connection card, just write the book, the book, and we'll get it ordered, and let you know when it comes in. But it's a take a little bit of time to get connected with the person of Jesus. Alright, I'm going to pause and pray, and then I'm going to launch into this new series we're starting called Wide Awake.

Douglas Poole: 07:41 So would you pray with me please? Our Father in heaven. We revel in the fact that we're alive, and that we are here in this space together today. And Lord, so many of us come into this space with this hope, if not expectation, that somehow, some way, we're going to encounter you. And Father, when we do, you know, it allows us to enter into this new year with hope and with dreams. Of the life that you're offering for us, the life that happens when we walk with you, that seems so full of meaning and purpose and adventure and beauty. So Father, I would ask that it would begin today, like right here in this moment, in this place. Would you, God, convince us of your love for us. For Lord, some of us that's a question mark, and an uncertainty. So would you convince us of your love for us, and of your wisdom and your power? Would you convince us that we really do have a hope, and a future, going into 2019? Because Father, I fear for some entering into this year with such dread, and such uncertainty, and father convince us that we have this hope and a future, so that we could boldly go into 2019. And Father, really we do pray that December 31st we would stand at years end, and we would just find the words wow on our lips. Wow, of what you have accomplished, and what we have experienced in your midst. So, Lord, that's our prayer, and may it be so for all of us this day. And I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Douglas Poole: 09:32 Alright. living in the eastern time zone and being a sports fan sometimes can be a frustrating combination, and it can be a frustrating combination because there are times when there are games that are like nationally televised, not just regionally, but nationally televised. And so the people who are televising these games want to get the most of their advertising dollars. So they've got to schedule that game in the sweet spot. Where we are in the eastern time zone, and three hours later for the Pacific time zone, they've got to do the sweet spot so they can get the most people watching. Which means the games tend to come on late for us, and just perfect for people out in California of course, like why do they get all the opportunities? And so what is frustrating? It means that there are times like the World Series, the Stanley Cup, NBA playoffs games that happened during the middle of the week, they don't start till 9:00 at night sometimes. Have you noticed that? And then sometimes they go onto the next day for us. And so I've been watching some of these games, and I thought like really into it and enjoying it, and I'm getting old. And so it gets towards the end of the game, and it is getting towards the next day actually on the clock, and I'm fighting to stay awake. And the Sandman comes by, start sprinkling sleep dust in my eyes, and they get a little itchy and I'm rubbing them. And then the commercial comes on and it's like, okay, we're getting close to the game, and I think I'll just close my eyes during the commercial. You know, where it goes, right? So I wake up three hours later, and there's like this infomercial of a guy selling these antique coins. And I'm like how did this happen, and more importantly who won the game? Who won? And so I grab my phone, and I start googling, only to discover that I missed one of the most amazing comeback, you know, in sports history. And then I turn over to ESPN, because maybe there's some highlights on ESPN that I can, you know, watch what happened, and I realized I just slept through the dream ending to a game.

Douglas Poole: 11:34 Now I tell you this because friends, I've come to to learn it is okay to dream when you sleep, but it is not okay to sleep through your dreams. And we're going to talk about that for the next few weeks. The reality is we all have, or maybe we once had, these dreams for our lives, right? These dreams of this person we were going to become, these dreams of this life we're going to live, these dreams of these good things we're going to do, these dreams of these relationships that we were going to have. And that they're good and wholesome dreams. And by the way, have you ever noticed how you feel most alive when you're chasing a dream, right? When there is some hope, some expectation, and you were giving yourself fully towards that to its realization, we feel most alive. So we have these dreams for our lives, but then this thing called life happens, right? And you get a job, and the job wants all of your time, and all of your energy, and the best of who you are. And then there are bills to pay. There's expectations to try and meet for others that are very demanding. And then if you throw in kids, you know, they're so needy. They're so needy, right? They don't do their homework, and they don't clean their rooms, and you're dealing with all that. And then you get these relationships, and then they go haywire right on you. And all of the sudden it feels like your life, that the life you're living is keeping you from the life you want to live. And so you get up, get ready, go to work, go home, take care of supper, do all your errands, responsibilities, numbingly stare at the television, and go to bed. Get up the next morning, hit repeat. We have a word for it, we call it the daily grind, don't we? How you doing? I'm doing the daily grind. Isn't that exciting, and like life giving? I'm doing the daily grind. And we call it the daily grind, because it kind of tends to grind the life right out of us, doesn't it? It grinds out our joy, because we're just trying to get through the day, let alone to really fully experience the day. And it so grinds, that it feels like we almost become like a zombie.

Douglas Poole: 14:11 And maybe we can feel that our body's got a pulse, but my soul has become all shriveled up. And in the process of living in this way, it feels like our dreams just fade into this blur, our soul becomes anemic. And we just kind of acquiesce into mediocrity, and we just decided the best I can do is to get through the day, and the best I'll be able to do tomorrow is hopefully I can get through tomorrow. And it's almost like we're just trying to survive, instead of really trying to thrive, in the course of our lives. And so we just decided, I just have to accept this, right? Because this is how life is. The life that I dream of really is for somebody else, and we see other people living that life, and it's almost like we resent them. How dare they live my life, and have what I'm wanting to have, and we just have to accept. But the challenge is when we decided we're just going to accept, and we're just going to get through, there's still this little voice that speaks inside of us, right? This voice that says there's something more for you, there really is. There's something else, there's more meaning, more purpose for your life. And it's an annoying little voice, right? Because I've decided I'm going to accept reality that is what is, but this voice keeps saying there's something more inside of me, so we try to quiet the voice. Don't we? We think maybe if I just take another little adventurous trip somewhere, it will quiet the voice. And it does, but only for a while, and the voice comes back. Or maybe if I, it's a purchase, it's a new relationship, it's a pill, it's a drug, and then you get really desperate and try a Hallmark movie. But that voice, just won't be silenced, right? Friends, that voice is the voice of your soul screaming out for God. That voice is the voice of your soul screaming out for the life that God created you to live. And it's a voice that is saying to you, because if you will quiet yourself friends, and you will listen, God will speak into your soul. And God will say to you, wake up, wake up, you're sleeping through your dreams. You're sleeping through the life that I have for you. Wake up and begin to pursue these dreams that I put in your heart so long ago. Wake up to the future that could be.

Douglas Poole: 16:56 There is this fascinating moment where Jesus says these very words to a group of people, wake up, wake up. And it's found in the Book of the Revelation, and we're going to go there. I know that for some people, just like mentioning the book of the revelation is confusing. You know, it's a book that been written in the style of apocalyptic literary genre. And so the book is full of symbols, and full of visions, and cosmic catastrophes, and prophecies, so it's sufficiently freaks people out, it really does. So we just avoid it. Then there's another group of people who are determined, they have it all figured out, and they offer these rather simplistic understandings of this book. And those people tend to freak me out. So you just need to know there was a lot of apocalyptic writings in the time that book of the revelation was written, but only the book of the revelation made it into the Bible. And so anyway, it's in scripture, and so I believe it speaks to us the words of God. So we're going to go there, and I'm going to read for you from the Book of Revelation chapter three.

Douglas Poole: 18:20 And let me just set this up for you. The book of The Revelation was written by a man named John. He was an apostle of Jesus, and a close personal friend of Jesus. And it was written at a time when Christians were experiencing severe persecution all throughout the Roman Empire. And so Christians we're having their life taken, their property being confiscated, and they were scattering. And at the point that he writes this, just about all the other apostles had been martyred for their faith, and John had been exiled to an island. One of the Greek islands called Patmos, and so he was on Patmos, in exile, and the risen Jesus comes to visit him. How awesome would that be? Right? Exiled somewhere and think you're just utterly alone and deserted, and Jesus shows up, and he speaks encouragement not only to John. But Jesus says there are some things that have to be addressed in churches, and so Jesus actually instructs John to write a letter to seven different churches in Asia Minor, and those letters are all included in the book of The Revelation.

Douglas Poole: 19:36 And we're going to read a portion of one of the letters he was instructed to write to the church in Sardis. And now again, let me remind you, don't miss the message because of the symbolism, and the literary genre that's being given. Because this message is so important. Revelation chapter three, beginning in verse number one, Jesus says, "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: these are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds. You have a reputation of being alive, but you're dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard, obey it and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time that I will come to you."

Douglas Poole: 20:42 Now, what the risen Jesus says to the church in Sardis, I think he says to all of us. Let's go back and unpack this. Look again at verse number 1, it says, "I know your deeds. You have a reputation of being alive but you're dead." So Jesus says this, listen, I see what others don't see, and I know what's really true about you. You're your body's got a pulse, but your soul's dying, and you're covering it up. You're like, you go through the motions, but your passion is all dried up. You have a list that you are checking off, but you don't really have a life to live. And so people may look at you and they may envy you and how they perceive your life to be, and what you have, but inside you know the way you are living your life is killing the life inside of you.

Douglas Poole: 21:39 Verse 2, so wake up, wake up! You have dreams to be turned into reality, but they're not going to happen, you're sleeping through your life. Wake up. You have a kid who's looking for meaning in all the wrong places, in all the wrong people, and you want to wake up one day and say you missed it. Wake up, because your marriage has cancer, and it's dying. Wake up, there is beauty to be created. Wake up, you've backburnered your relationship with God, and it's tainting your soul day after day after day. Wake up, or you're going to miss something way more important than the end of a sports game. You're going to miss out on the life, the life of significance that God has for you. Back to verse 2, "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die." I love this, Jesus says, there's still hope, there's still time for you, but you have to wake up, and you have to wake up and strengthen what remains of your marriage. Wake up and strengthen what remains of the influence you have in your kids life. Wake up and strengthen what remains of your reputation. Wake up and strengthen what remains of this dream that you have, because it is about to die. And if you don't wake up now, and if you don't strengthen, the day will come when you will wake up and you'll find yourself saying, woulda, coulda, shoulda. Verse two, "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die. For I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God." I think Jesus is saying this, you're a masterpiece that is waiting to be finished, a masterpiece that is unfinished at this moment. There is a hope and a future for you. No matter how you may have messed up your life, no matter how deeply you have been hurt, you are still a masterpiece in waiting. I think, what a tragedy, what a tragedy, to breathe your last breath and discover not only was your life unfinished, it was never really begun.

Douglas Poole: 24:07 Verse 3, "And remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast and repent." The word repent means like, you need to change the way you're thinking, you need to see things in a new way. And so he says, remember, remember those dreams? Remember how alive and how passionate you were? Remember those hope, those expectations? The new way of thinking is the old way, that those hopes and those dreams are a possibility for you again. Verse 3, "But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." Jesus says, I am going to show up. I'm coming to you, Jesus says. And where I go, I am bringing life, I'm bringing hope, I'm bringing power, I'm bringing wisdom, I'm going to come to you, but you're going to be dead asleep, and you will miss it. You will rob yourself of the very opportunity to experience exactly what you need for this life that you're dreaming of. Wake up!

Douglas Poole: 25:21 So friends, I hope you join me in the next few weeks in this series we're doing called Wide Awake. We're
going to talk about how this happened in our life, and actually we're going to look at the life of a warrior prince named Jonathan, who really lived a life wide awake. And we're going to discover from his life you know the principles of how we can live a life, a life that is wide awake. A life of meaning and of purpose and of beauty. So I so hope you'll be with us in this journey in the next few weeks, as we talk about how does this happen in our lives?

Douglas Poole: 25:57 Now we're going to wrap the service up with communion. And in communion we remind ourselves that Jesus gave his life that we might have life. And when we partake of the bread, we always were reminded of his body that bore the full brunt of the punishment for our shortcomings and failures. And the cup of his blood that was shed for the remission of sin and the hope of life everlasting. And so often when we think of communion, we think, you know, he gave his life that we might live eternally in the city of God with him forever. And yes, but we miss out on this part that he gave us life, that we might have life today. He said, I've come that you might have life and have an abundant life today, a full abundant life today, a life eternal in the presence of the heavenly father. So when we received the elements today, will you receive some of us say that I've received the life he has for me for eternity. Would you just embrace the life that he's given you today? A life of meaning, and of purpose. And say, God, I give you my life today, I want to know the life you have for me today to experience this. So I'm going to ask our communion stewards to come forward, and I want to wrap this up. I want to close with a couple of statements, and then I'm going to offer a pastoral blessing. So would you stand?

Douglas Poole: 27:27 When I finished manuscripting this teaching last month, and I was thinking of you all. The joys and the challenges, and what was all going on in life, and the love and appreciation I feel for our Cypress tribe. And so I wrote these words for you. Alright? My Cypress brothers and sisters, please, please don't just dream about living. Have the courage to live the life of your dreams. And it begins when you realize that you've been asleep, you been a member of the walking dead, and it's time to wake up, time to come alive. Invite the living God to step into your life. Invite Jesus to dwell in your soul, and bring you life. Live awake. And now I offer you this blessing. That you never again wake with sadness in the morning. May your every breath be a source of inspiration and hope. May you know to the core of your being that you were created for more, and may you live it. May you dream big God sized dreams, and have the courage to experience it in 2019. And if you do, your life will never be the same again. In the name of the father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. You may begin to make your way to the communion table when you're ready, return to your seats, partake, and then join us outside on the patio.

Recorded in Clearwater, Florida.
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Cypress Meadows
2180 North McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, Florida 33759
(727) 725-4570