I endeavor to bring the Gentiles to obedience of the faith, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God…so that I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and this I make it my ambition to preach the gospel not where Christ has already been named. Romans 15:18-20
That was Paul’s gospel ambition, to go where ‘no man has gone before’ to preach about Jesus. He had dreams and he was fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. A Gospel Ambition. That sounds so lofty, reserved for heavy hitters like Paul, or pastors and missionaries.
Maybe the rest of us get ‘life ambitions.’ Now we call them ‘bucket lists,’ after the Morgan Freeman movie. It doesn’t have to be spiritual, at least that’s what we think. So our bucket lists include things like: seeing the Grand Canyon, or running a half marathon, or getting on Jeopardy (that’s mine).
**But does God put spiritual bucket lists on our hearts? Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “We are HIs workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The NIV words it “that God has prepared in advance for us to do.” He’s given us a mission just like He gave Paul. It might not be as sweeping and far reaching as his, but my point is that God gives us all a ‘Gospel ambition’ a life purpose, and He burns it on our hearts.
That means we don’t have to look hard to find it. We know what it is. And God gives us the Holy Spirit to give us the power and the boldness to carry it out. That’s what Acts 1:8; 4:31 and Colossians 1:27-29 say. It wasn’t just for guys back then, it’s for us too. Jesus lives in us and gives us His power, energy and boldness.
I occasionally get dreams that I know have spiritual significance. I had one this week. I knew that there was something to the people and events in the dream, so I sought out a friend that is a pretty good interpreter and encourager. One thing he has taught me is that if I have a dream about somebody else, I need to tell that dream to the person because God has a message for them. God has been speaking to me about several things since that dream, including not letting me back pedal from my Gospel ambition.
In my dream I was walking a co-worker’s father home. It was a snowy evening, and I was walking him home on a trail to his daughter and son-in-law’s cabin. They had the fire going and they welcomed him in. The father and I didn’t talk, nor did the couple invite me in. My concern was that he got ‘home’ safely and I was successful. I have never had a personal connection with this father until about three weeks ago when I rode with him and several others to a sporting event. He is almost 80, so no spring chicken.
As I turned to head back down the snowy trail, the sun was going down almost completely and I saw that I had a head lamp. My co-worker, who is not a Christian, called out, “Don’t you love those head lamps? I have one every where I go.” But within a few steps it dimmed. I looked down the path and about 30 yards ahead there were four or five bears in my path. I saw them, they didn’t see me. My head flashlight went out completely and I laid down on the ground and back pedaled up hill and woke up.
The father that I walked home is not a Christian. One of his daughters is, and I felt led to call her and ask about his spiritual state. The night before my dream they had just had a family meeting to say that her mother had breast cancer and they were talking about where their burial plots were. He is a skeptic and a debater. She said, “I won’t be in that grave long.” He said, “I’ll be in that hole for a long time.” He needs Jesus.
As she told me this, the Michael W. Smith song played strongly in my head, “I’ll Lead You Home.” Some of the words: “It won’t be long before your sun goes down, just leave it to Me, I’ll lead you home; A troubled mind and a doubter’s heart; You wonder how you ever got this far; Leave it to Me, I’ll lead you home. Hear Me calling, Hear Me calling…”
I had just watched the movie, “A Case for Christ.” It’s about Lee Strobel, the big skeptic who tried to disprove Christianity and ended up becoming a Christian in the process. The father was a lawyer and reads a lot. I ordered the book and am going to give it to the Christian daughter to give to him this next week when they get back from a trip. We’ll see where it leads from there.
The bears in the path are/could be resistance, nay sayers, overbearing people who would cause me to back pedal and to not be bold–hence, my light for the Lord dims and goes out. It doesn’t shine and doesn’t do it’s work. That so hits the nail on the head. It is so easy to back pedal and avoid confrontation. It took boldness just to call the Christian daughter out of the blue and tell her that I had this dream and to ask her about her dad.
When I read these verses about the Holy Spirit being the one who gives us the boldness, as well as the ambition to be used by God in the first place, it gives me the confidence that God will do a work in this father’s heart before He dies. He will lead Jim home. I just get to walk with him down the path.