January 23, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

Don't know how you spent the weekend, but - for Cheri and me - it was a spectacular couple of days. Asheville, North Carolina was socked-in with clouds and rain, but - inside the Grove Park Inn - there was a resurrection underway...

We spent 41 hours in a lock-down with 27 couples whose lives are already "full," by most people's standards. At risk of settling-into lives of comfortable accomplishment, we were focused on the possibilities of life at an even higher level; life, in the future, marked by dreams for the next season.

This DreamMaster experience - offered through The Master's Program - has now occurred on both coasts. Leaders from multiple regions have found a common-denominator in the challenge to pursue what God may be ready to enable in their life, if they would just ask. Peter Drucker said that no one can predict the future, but that you can create it. The difference between passive living and active life is found in the pursuit of dreams.

The "patron saint" of the DreamMaster premise is an Old Testament hero named Joseph: a man who was marked by his brothers as the visionary among them. His story carries some powerful insights:

Dreamers are in the minority... but, they're always in the lead. Joseph was one of twelve brothers, but he was the only one with a dream. Leaders are also in the minority. The two sub- groups are the same group: the dreamers are leaders.

Dreamers breed enmity for who they are, not for what they do. The sibling rivalry among Jacob's sons was not a result of behavior; it was a reaction to demeanor. Joseph - the "dreamer" - was so despised by his brothers that they wanted him dead...

The pursuit of dreams requires courage and perseverance. Dreams are all about vision and vision always has risk attached. When risk is in the air, courage is not optional. Fear freezes; courage propels. For Joseph, betrayal by his brothers, false imprisonment by a slave master, and forgotten promises by people who profited from his services were the obstacles that stood in the way of his dream future. His courage was not fading; his perseverance took him the distance.

Dreams come true... but not until God is good and ready. God is always good, but God is not always ready. In Joseph's case, the moment made for him arrived when Pharaoh of old had a dream that perplexed him. He needed a specialist... and Joseph was "da' man." Summoned to the palace of Egypt, Joseph was elevated from prisoner to power in one sovereign act. Joseph was ready as a teenager; God wasn't ready until he had half-a-lifetime of experience that qualified him for his dream future.

If God is in them, dreams come true... and they give life. Joseph's youthful dream was that, someday, his father and brothers would bow down to him. Arrogant pride? You could have come to that conclusion... but you would have been wrong. God had opened a window on the future, in Joseph's soul, that foretold a day when Joseph's provision during famine would sustain the family through whom God had promised to send the ultimate Messiah. The family of Jacob would have died in famine, without the Dreamer... and his dream. Joseph was one of a handful of biblical characters about whom no transgressions were recorded. Was he sinless? No one but Jesus had that distinction. But, as a mere human, he was marked more by his faith than he was his failures. Here's a key discovery: you can't be propelled by dreams unless you have the catalyst of faith. Dreams are risky; faith is hopeful. One feeds the other.

The DreamMaster experience is a one-of-a-kind weekend phenomenon for Christian couples who are leaders. Those from Asheville left believing that old age sets in when your memories become more powerful than your dreams... and, on that basis, committed to not growing old. Call it a "spa for the soul."

So, how about you? Have any dreams that are pulling you into an extraordinary future?

Bob Shank

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