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The Power of the Dream
Written By Willie Jolley
Willie Jolley one of the favorite speakers on the Hour of Power. A world-renowned speaker, author, motivator, and preacher, Willie started as a jazz singer. God has used him to touch so many lives with the spoken word.
Well I have only just a minute, only sixty seconds, forced upon me, can't refuse it, didn't seek it, didn't choose it, but it's up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it, give a count if I abuse it, just a tiny little minute, but an eternity is in it. Good morning Crystal Cathedral! Amen! I know it's a good morning. How do I know? 'Cause I woke up this morning without a chalk outline around my body. I said, "It's a good day. Praise the Lord!"
Well first, I want to say greetings to everybody here at the Crystal Cathedral, and all the people around the world who are watching this broadcast. It's a good day. This is the day the Lord has made, and we truly rejoice and are glad in it. I want to thank the Crystal Cathedral staff and team and Bobby and all of the folks here at Crystal Cathedral who invited me back. I enjoyed the last time, and I'm so grateful for your invitation. I want to say a special thank you to my friend Danny Cox, who made all of this possible in the first place. He's my dear friend who invited me to be here the last time. And then I want to thank all the people who are watching all around the world who just overwhelmed us with your love from e-mails and Facebook messages and Tweets and letters, who said that that message inspired and empowered them. And one lady, she said, "I was just flipping the channels. I was not a believer but I heard your message and I found that I could believe. Praise God!"
Now, last time I was here, I spoke on the message, "A Set Back is a Set Up for a Come Back." Many people said it impacted them and inspired them. If you did not hear that message, I want to invite you to go to my website. We've put it on a special website called jolleygoodnews.org. You can go to jolleygoodnews.org, you can see the whole message, and that's a website in a whole mission we've developed to start to empower people around the world. We've put a program in place called Books Beyond Bars to get my book, A Set Back is a Set Up for a Come Back, into prisons because we want to encourage people in prison that their past does not determine their future.
We also have on that website, a second project, which is to get my "Dare to Dream, Dare to Win" youth video into every school in America because we want to help young people to stay away from drugs, stay away from alcohol, stay away from violence, stop the bullying, and to pursue academic excellence as part of their lives. So, we're going to be raising funds to put all of that in place. And, finally, just to be able to inspire people to live God's best lives. So go to jolleygoodnews.org and you'll be able to get that information there.
Well, today I want to talk to you for a few minutes about the power of the dream. The power of the dream.
About 15 years ago, I was invited here to the Crystal Cathedral for their annual men's conference. And I came and spoke, and during that time, I had an opportunity to share and spend a few minutes with Dr. Schuller. He shared a quote that was so profound, that it inspired me so, that I put it in my book, "It Only Takes a Minute to Change Your Life." It reads: "Dreams, where do they come from? Dr. Robert Schuller, noted minister and author, says that dreams do not come out of the blue, but rather come out of the mind of God. God matches the dream with the dreamer, someone who will receive it, respect it, embrace it, claim it, live for it, and be willing to die for it. God gives to humans one of His greatest gifts: a dream. Yet, it is up to us to receive it and let it grow or to reject it and kill it."
Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I believe, though, where there is a vision, the people will flourish. We must dare to dream the impossible dream. Amen? Amen. God is able to give us the ability to dream impossible dreams. In the Bible, in Joel 2:28, it says, "And it shall come to pass that I will pour out My spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." Dreams are the seeds for success. If you took a little teeny weenie corn seed, dug a hole, put the corn seed in, covered it with dirt, watered it, it would grow into a corn stalk. If you took an acorn and dug a hole, put the acorn in, covered it with dirt and watered it, it would grow into an oak tree. The same is true for your dreams. Dreams have the ability to bloom and blossom, and grow into great plants. This church is the result of a dream. And if you can dream it, you can do it, but we must be willing to dream.
I told you this when I spoke last time, that Michael Jordan was asked what was the secret to his success. He was cut from the basketball team in high school for not being good enough. But he went home and dreamed about doing impossible things with a basketball because he wanted to prove to the coach that the coach had made a mistake. Once he saw it in his mind, he tried it out on the court, and he did it.
Duke Ellington was asked how he created such incredible music. He said, "I dreamed a lot."
Walt Disney, who built an amusement park not far from here, also some setbacks and negative situations. He went bankrupt, he went through a nervous breakdown, but when asked what was the secret to him creating Disneyland, he said, "I believe in the power of dreams."
Mohammed Ali was asked how he revolutionized the boxing industry so people would flock to see him fight. He said, "I had a dream. I created a personality that people either loved or they hated. Those who loved me came to see me win. Those who hated me came to see me lose. In the meantime, every seat was taken." You've got to have the dream. You've got to be willing to dream.
T.E. Lawrence, who we know today as Lawrence of Arabia, once said, "All men dream, but not equally. Those that dream at night in the dusty recesses of their mind, awaken to find that it was just vanity, a whiff of smoke. But those that dream by day are the dangerous ones for they dream with their eyes open, and they make their dreams come true."
We must be willing to dream big dreams and not let our dreams go to the grave with us. Howard Thurman, the great theologian said, "Imagine you come to your last day on earth. You are on your deathbed, and all around you are these ghoulish looking figures with hideous sounding voices and bulging eyes, saying, ‘We are the dreams God gave to you to bring to life, and now we must die with you because you did not take action on bringing us to life.'" Oh, what a pitiful thing that would be. So, I'm encouraging people wherever you are to dream big dreams and then to act on those dreams.
But what stops us from taking action on our dreams? I like to call them the dream busters. Dream busters are all around us. In fact, dream busters are with us all the time because dream busters are those things that stop us from living our dreams. The number one dream buster we will see is fear. Fear. Now, psychologists have proven there are only two fears you were born with - the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear is a learned behavior. We must overcome our fears or our fears will overcome us.
Shakespeare said, "Our doubts are traitors that make us lose the good we ought might win by fearing to attempt." We must believe that God would not give us a dream that was unable for us to achieve. We've got to believe that God gives us the dream and then wants us to go about achieving. So, we have to overcome us, our self-limiting fears and doubts. We have to overcome the fear, the fear and doubt of life that will overcome us.
I love the story about the two evil brothers, Fear and Doubt, who went around from house to house, knocking on people's doors. When the people would open the door, Fear and Doubt would rush in, ransack the house, and steal the dreams. They went from city to city and state to state and country to country, knocking on people's doors, rushing in, and stealing dreams. One day, Fear and Doubt came to this beautiful big house. They thought, oh, that's a great place to go steal the dreams. But they did not know that was the home of their mortal enemies, Faith and Courage. They knocked and knocked on the door, shouting, "Open this door!" Finally, the door swung open, Faith and Courage stood at the door, but there was no one there. They looked up the street and looked down the street, but there was no one there. Why? Because, in the face of Faith and Courage, Fear and Doubt must always disappear. The number one thing is that all we have to overcome is our selves.
Second thing we have to overcome is our self-limiting beliefs, our beliefs that, for some reason, we cannot achieve our goals and dreams. One of the ones that stops many people is a thought and a belief that age is a reason why they can't live their dreams. Some people think, well, I'm too old to live my dreams. And I always say, what does age have to do with your success? Absolutely nothing.
Col. Sanders was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. Clara Peller was 82 years old when she did her first television commercial and said, "Where's the beef?" And George Burns, bless his heart, was 99 years old when he had the nerve to sign a 10-year contract with Caesars Palace. He said he would have signed a 20-year contract, but he didn't think they'd be in business. The Delaney sisters were in their 90s and decided to write a book. People told them, you're wasting your time. But they wrote a book called "Having our Say." It became an international bestselling book, over one hundred weeks on the best sellers list. A Broadway play. A PBS special. They became wealthy after the age of 90 - one was over 100 - because they were willing to not let their age limit them.
Moses got his call to ministry in his 80s, and we've all heard his name because he did not let his age limit him. I'm saying to you, don't let your age limit you. Don't let your self-limiting thoughts and beliefs keep you from doing all God sent you to do. We've got to think big and believe big.
The third one I want to talk about - after we have the inner fear of our fears and doubts, and then our self-limiting beliefs - is hanging out with negative, small-minded, itty bitty, petty-thinking people. People who tell you you can't do that. It's not possible. Well, we've got to leave them alone and, unfortunately, many of them are in our inner circle. People who we love and they love us, too. They're not trying to be mean spirited; they just happen to suffer from possibility blindness. They say, oh, so and so tried it and it didn't work for them. So, they assume it won't work for you. But that's not how God works. God can do anything, anytime and He can transform your life. What do you do when they're in your inner circle? What do you do when they're in your family and they're negative? I tell you, here's what you do: Learn to love them from afar. We've got a dream; we've got to dream big dreams.
If you ever saw the movie, "Karate Kid," there was a boy named Daniel who moved into a new area and he wanted to fit in but wasn't quite doing so. One day, he's riding his bicycle home and the bullies jump out and attack him. They tear up his bicycle and they are about to tear him up when out of nowhere, Mr. Miyagi shows up. Mr. Miyagi beats up the bullies while Daniel runs home. The next morning, there's a knock on the door. Daniel opens his door and there's his bicycle, restored, renewed, better than it had been in the first place. He looked around and saw Mr. Miyagi, who gave him a thumbs up. They became fast friends.
One day, in Mr. Miyagi's backyard, Mr. Miyagi's clipping a bonsai tree. Daniel said, "What a beautiful plant."
Mr. Miyagi said, "I could teach you to do it."
"No, no, Mr. Miyagi, I don't have artistic skills."
"No, I could teach you, Daniel."
"No, I don't have those abilities."
"No, I could teach you." And the more Mr. Miyagi tried to talk Daniel into it, the more Daniel talked himself out of it. And folks, that's how most of us are about our dreams and goals. I ask you a question: How many of you have had at least one good idea in your life? Just one? All right, now. How many of you have talked YOU out of at least one good idea in your life? You told yourself you're too old, you're too young, you don't have enough money, you don't have enough education, you don't have enough experience, it wouldn't work!
Well, Mr. Miyagi said to Daniel, "Daniel, you can do it."
"No, no, no."
He said, "Okay Daniel, look at the plant." Daniel looked at it. Miyagi said, "Study it." Daniel studied it. "Now Daniel, close your eyes. Can you see it in your mind?"
"Can you see the detail?"
"Can you see the indentations?"
"Open your eyes, Daniel." By the time Daniel would open his eyes, Mr. Miyagi had taken the clipped bonsai tree and replaced it with an unclipped, unfinished bonsai tree. He said, "Now Daniel, work on what you just saw." If you cannot see it, how will you ever be it? You've got to see the possible. You've got to dream the incredible. And there are going to be setbacks along the way. You will have some setbacks, but as I told you before, a setback is nothing but a set up for a comeback. And it's often God's way of getting you to do your best work.
Years ago, I wanted to be a gospel singer, and I got an invitation to go to Nashville, Tennessee to sing at the Gospel Music Association convention. I was going to be a star. It was like the "American Idol" of Gospel Music. And I was confident. In fact, I was bordering on arrogant. I'm thinking, oh, I'm going to be the next big thing. Well, I went for that big night's sing-off and everybody got a chance to hear me, and I bombed. It was terrible. I was embarrassed, I was destroyed, devastated. I went to my little hotel room and I cried. My big break, and I'd blown it. And I cried out to the Lord, "What do You want"
And He said, "I want you to trust Me." And that night I realized that I had been trying to do the wrong thing. I was trying to impress others on how great I was, rather than inspire them on how great God is. And it was at that moment that I shifted my life to say it is not me, it is He who should get the glory. It is He who should get the praise.
If someone likes what I do, I say, "Then don't think about me. You think about God. It's God who does the work through me because He's the secret." And it was then that I started reading and developing myself. I read a piece one day about the fact that if you want to change your life and recapture your dreams that have been overcome and filled up with negative, what you do is an exercise. You ask yourself to imagine that I went to the doctor, who said, "I got good news and bad news. Bad news, you got one year to live. Good news, the illness you have guarantees that anything you attempt in the next 365 days, you will achieve. It's impossible for you to fail."
What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Write down ten things. And I wrote down ten things. If I couldn't fail, maybe I could be a speaker. If I couldn't fail, maybe I could write a book. If I couldn't fail, maybe I could do a little television and radio. If I couldn't fail, maybe I could speak around the country or maybe around the world. Well 20 years have gone by, and most of the things on that list have come true. I still don't have the plane with my name on it, but I keep dreaming.
I want to give you homework, each one of you. I want you, before this day is over, to ask yourself, "If I only had a year to live and I could not fail at anything I attempt, what ten things would I go after?" Write it down and start to read it. You'll recapture those dreams. Folks, your dreams have power.
Imagine this scenario. Hot summer day, 1944, Atlanta, Georgia, Morehouse College. We go into the president's office. His name is Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays. He's a dignified theologian and educator. There's a knock on the door. He says, "Come in." Big wooden door swings open and in the door is a man and a teenage boy. Dr. Mays jumps to his feet to go grab the hand of the man, Martin Luther King, Sr., daddy king. He says, "My old friend, come in."
Daddy King takes the teenager's hand, and says, "Come on in, son." He said, "Dr. Mays, I know you're busy. I'm not going to take a lot of your time. I just came to introduce you to my son, ML. Oh, his real name is Martin Luther King, Jr., but we call him ML. He's 15 years old. He's going to college here in the fall. Fifteen going to college, a very bright boy. And he's a good boy. He's never given me a stitch of trouble, but he's missing something and I need a big favor. No, no, no, I don't need tuition. It's bigger than that. No, I don't need room and board; it's more critical than that. I came to ask you if you would teach my son how to dream big dreams. Would you teach my boy how to dream the impossible dream?"
Dr. Mays have gave young ML a piece of literature and said, "Read this, young man, and it'll change your life." And ML read it every day, and it changed his life.
And one day I got hold of it and I started reading it. I was amazed how it changed my life and I put it in my books. And soon after my books came out, people from other countries and around the country and other parts of the world, from India and Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, China, Japan, Netherlands started reading it and saying, "I read that piece in your book. It changed my life. It's so profound, yet so simple."
It simply reads: "It must be born in mind, that the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goal. No, the tragedy lies in not having a goal to reach for. It is not a calamity to die with your dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideals, but it is a disaster to have no ideals to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure but low aim is sin. You must dream the impossible dream. You must dream the big dream, the crazy dream, the amazing dream cause God can take your dreams and turn them into unbelievable possibilities."
Oh you've got to dream. Oh I want you to dream.
(SINGS) To dream the impossible dream. To fight the unbeatable foe. To bear with unbearable sorrow. To go where the brave dare not go.
To right the un-rightable wrong. To love pure and chaste from afar. To try when your arms are too weary. To reach the unreachable star.
This is my quest to follow that star no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. To be willing to fight without question or pause. To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.
And I know if I only be true to this perilous quest then my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest.
And the world will be better for this, oh, that one man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star, to fight the unbeatable foe, to dream the impossible dream!
Give God glory! Give God glory! Give our God the glory! God bless you!