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What is God’s dream for the world?

I don’t know about you, but this morning I’ve got the post-daylight savings blues. Losing that hour sleep after a weekend trip makes the coffee seem a little more necessary on a Monday. Yesterday, I was in the frigid north (Chicago). Why do people live there? It makes no sense to me. Being cold i…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I don’t know about you, but this morning I’ve got the post-daylight savings blues. Losing that hour sleep after a weekend trip makes the coffee seem a little more necessary on a Monday. Yesterday, I was in the frigid north (Chicago). Why do people live there? It makes no sense to me. Being cold is a miserable experience. Down south, we have daffodils blooming.

I spoke on the subject, “Can You Die Happy?” And it leads me to ask you, my blog readers, what is your dream? In other words, what will it take for you to die happy? Maybe you have a dream of helping orphans somewhere in the world. Maybe you want to help your church address the AIDS crisis in Africa. Maybe you have a dream of living in a community in the city and touching the homeless. We have to do our dreams or at least give them our best shot to fulfill our purpose. Doing so ties into God’s ultimate global end-game (Andrew Shearman calls it, “the curtain of history”).

Bear with me a second; I’d like to dive deep into this subject. There is this interesting verse about God’s dream – his ultimate intent for the world. Matt 24:14 speaks of the end of all things, a kind of global death. It is an if-then proposition (as are all God’s covenantal statements), but it is made in a declarative way. “This gospel of the Kingdom will be preached,” it declares. So it is up to us to go and preach it. Until it is preached, the end won’t come and conversely we can conclude that if it is preached, as it says, “to all nations,” then God’s prerequisite for concluding things will have been achieved and He can go ahead and wrap up his grand anthropological reclamation project.

As Milton wrote, paradise was lost with the first Adam. But God had a second Adam and a second act to a three-act play. Scripture says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

And now we are co-writing the third act and the denouement with God. As it says in 1 Cor 15:24 – “Then the end will come, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father.”

If in Matt 24:14 God is spelling out the terms under which the end will come, then He also defines the terms under which this epoch can finish satisfactorily – in other words, He’s clarifying how the world can die happy. How can the world die happy? If the gospel of the kingdom is preached to all nations. That’s God’s dream, and he’s inviting us to partner with him in it. So if this is a three act play, it is a comedy in the Shakespearean sense, not a tragedy. It ends well.

Death leads to life. God is very interested in cycles. The Bible says: “Unless a grain of wheat die…” God is the author of all kingdom-building dreams. If you are willing to pray “may your kingdom come,” he will give you a dream that will make that prayer come true.

Ok, if that feels like a lot to digest, let me make it practical by returning to my original question: Do you have that kind of dream? We need to set aside our self-gratifying dreams and dream God’s dreams. A better golf handicap or a new back porch is not a big enough dream. If you don’t have one, ask him for one.

There are three things I need to see to die happy:

  1. My children and their generation walking like Jesus walked.
    (For a good summary, read Luke 4-10.)

  2. My children their friends getting their inheritance.

  3. The church prepared for a one hundred year spiritual flood.
    A one hundred year flood washes out everything that isn’t founded on bedrock. Parents are bobbling the “faith-baton” hand-off to their children. Things are not going well in America spiritually. Young people are looking for answers and not finding them.  We need to be working hard to establish a remnant.

These are big dreams, but every ordinary day has extraordinary potential. We all need to live for something bigger than ourselves.

Comments (14)

  • As one of the freaky people who live in frigid northland of Chicago, we ask ourselves the same question!!!

    It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you! We loved the message and the time of talk afterwards.

    Thank you for the reminders of the risk it takes to die happy!

  • Angi (WR July ’08)

    Seth – that last line, “We all need to live for something bigger than ourselves” is in every speech I give about the World Race and why I am going. It is why I can no longer sit and wallow in the complacency that seems to be invading every corner of our happy and comfortable lives. God’s Dream for us is not to sit back and accept this mediocrity, but to go out and DO something about it, be it doing the work ourselves, or if you can’t for some reason, staying here and supporting those who can.

    PS: The Frozen North is beautiful. It is one of God’s greatest gifts to blanket everything with snow! The trick to enjoying THE cold, is not to BE cold.

  • Hi Seth!

    I’m trippin’ because Kevin and Christi B are friends of mine who went to Swaziland and they heard you preach along the same lines that my preacher has been preaching for the last 3 Sundays. Its wild to see that God had us not only on the same physical journey, but the same spiritual one as well….Are we willing to risk it all to follow God’s dreams for our lives?

    Any chance your sermon/teaching yesterday will be made available on the host church’s website? I’d love to watch a webcast or listen to an audiocast of it. And I’ll be linking to this post on my blog either way…right above the sermon notes from my church yesterday.

    God is doing something…hmmmm-m-mm…doing something BIG!

    Praying to be brave and trusting,

  • Yes sir, ladies and gentlemen, that is my beautiful middle daughter just back, fresh from her mission trip to Costa Rica. Estie – any report for the good people of the blogosphere?

  • One of the most disappointing dates I ever went on ended (with NO hope of another date) when I asked the guy – “What’s your dream”? After a few “Huh? what do you means” – I tried again – “What’s your dream? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If money was no option? What would you do if you could do ANYTHING?!” – He responded.. “I don’t know… probably what I’m doing now. Or, uh, I like working on cars.” (are you sighing yet?) Seth – I thank God for men like you calling us all to MORE than that! Thanks for always up-ing the bar!

  • Thanks for bringing it up, Caitlin. That’s a metaphor for a catastrophic event that occurs very rarely. It threatens everything and if we knew it was coming, we’d prepare. In our case, the flood represents the loss of faith by our children’s generation.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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