Fifty-two days ago, I got the worst news of my adult life… “Your wife, Theresa, has cancer.” It was the day before our Living on the Edge board meeting in California and all I can remember is holding Theresa and crying on the couch. We prayed, we wondered, and we began a journey that had unexpected but powerful results.
During this time with Theresa, I learned three important lessons.
- Very few things were important. Priorities and demands that I struggled with 24 hours earlier were made very clear, very quickly.
- A sense of urgency and clarity occurred that moved me out of desire (not guilt) to eliminate some “nice but non-essential activities” and seek God’s face with laser-like intensity.
- My theology kicked in at a whole new level. What I really believed about life, death, heaven, love, God’s calling and my days left on this earth moved from concepts and principles I live by to motivational rockets, propelling me to “act on what I know and believe” in fresh and faith-filled ways. (In this month’s Coffee Break CD, I talk about the process of how God uses adversity for those of you who are going through it now.)
In fact, in some precious private time with Jesus I have come to grasp, “why I am here” and “what I am to do” with renewed clarity and energy. The “dream” and passion He has been birthing in my heart found its way into my journal on January 9th…
I’m dreaming of a day when churches will be filled with warm, caring, non-legalistic, non-self-righteous, passionate followers of Jesus who receive the broken, the irreligious, the fallen, the different, and the unlovely with open arms.
I’m dreaming of a day when churches would measure success by the depth of their love not the number who attend, the size of their budget, or beauty of their buildings.
I’m dreaming of a day when Christians would stay married when times are tough; when forgiveness is sought and granted and predictable struggles would result in humbly coming to God, His Word, and a wise brother or sister for wisdom and help.
I’m dreaming of a day when parents model holiness, purity and set boundaries for their children to protect them from the seductive world system (that promises everything and delivers death).
I’m dreaming of a day when parents eat together and laugh, tell stories of God’s love at bedtime, tickle each other to tears, spill popcorn on the floor, pray about tests, lost friends and neighbors, and make their house the most exciting and fun place on the block.
I’m dreaming of a day when churches work together to paint schools, clean parks, build houses in the tough part of town and refuse to care who gets credit.
I’m dreaming of a day when Christians would be known for what we are “for” more than what we are “against.” A day when prayer would be viewed as more powerful than politics, and people would be valued and treated with dignity even if what they believe is antithetical to all we stand for.
I’m dreaming of a day when Christians would cease to be so concerned about being “cool,” hip, in cutting edge or relevant; and simply be consistent, caring and committed to become like Jesus and do what He says.
I’m dreaming of a day when nine out of ten Christians would think it abnormal and strange if they did not …
… Live Before God Daily
… Do Life In Community Weekly
… Be On Mission 24/7
This is a dream I can’t shake. It’s a dream that Christians everywhere, in every culture, in every country, in every expression of Christ’s Church would simply “Live Like Christians!” Maybe it’s because this isn’t my dream at all, it’s Jesus’ DIVINE WILL and PRAYER for His Church… it’s what He meant when He taught us to pray…“May Thy will be done and Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.”
What is your dream? For your family, your church, your workplace?
BTW – Just last a few days ago I got the best news of my life. Theresa’s cancer has not spread to the lymph glands. Not an easy road, but it looks like the future is bright.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip