When Kids Can’t Dream

I have so much to be grateful for. So much! I want to show my gratitude by inspiring you to dream the biggest dream you possibly can, and then work for it.

A really big part of our energy and success lies in our ability to dream. There’s a great line in the movie Grey Owl starring Pierce Brosnan, where the Ojibwe elders tell Archie Grey Owl, “A man becomes what he dreams. You have dreamed well.”

When moms and dads at the ballpark would ask me for advice, I always told them to help their kids dream, and dream big. That’s what I did as a kid. I didn’t know if I could be a professional ballplayer! But I dreamed about it anyway. You see, back then I could dream any dream I liked! I had no idea what a privilege that is. It’s not the same for every kid.

Some of the kids that we rescue from slavery have awesome talents. But those talents have been squandered by the people that were slaving them out. These kids never enjoyed the chance to use their talents or challenge themselves. They didn’t dare to dream, not even small dreams.

Imagine not being able to dream at all! It’s shocking! Instead of dreaming and telling their parents, “Some day I’m going to…,” these kids were saying, “I just want to wake up one day, and not be a slave. I just want to wake up one day, and know that I’m not chained to the floor, that someone won’t come take the chains off just to tell me to go have sex with some guy.”

Think of the children out there who never dream for anything more than release, maybe even death. They are tired. “I’m tired of going in these fields and working hard. Every day I work. I don’t play. I don’t go to school. I don’t see my mother. At the end, I get hooked to the floor in a dark room, and I get a thing of bread thrown in front of me as my food.”  Kids. This is happening to kids.

That’s why we have to dream as big as we possibly can. It’s through our dreams and determination that we can rescue these kids from slavery and restore them to their talents and their dreams. These kids are suffering and I promise you that Jesus is with them, waiting for you and everyone else to come and love these kids just the way He did: by saving their lives.

Everyone can help, no matter how old they are. I’ll tell you more about this next time. See you Monday.

Inspired by Dreams

I have so much to be grateful for today. One of the ways I can show my gratitude is to use this incredible moment to inspire you to dream the biggest dream you possibly can, and then work for it.

A really big part of our energy and success lies in our ability to dream. There’s a great line in the movie Grey Owl starring Pierce Brosnan, where the Ojibwe elders tell Archie Grey Owl, “A man becomes what he dreams. You have dreamed well.”

When moms and dads at the ballpark would ask me for advice, I always told them to help their kids dream, and dream big. That’s what I did as a kid. I didn’t know if I could be a professional ballplayer! But I dreamed about it anyway. I could dream any dream I liked! Back then, I had no idea what a privilege that was. I’ve learned it’s not the same for everyone.

Some of the kids that we rescue from slavery have awesome talents. But those talents have been squandered by the people that were slaving them out. These kids never enjoyed the chance to use their talents or challenge themselves. They didn’t dare to dream, not even small dreams.

Imagine not being able to dream at all! It’s shocking! Instead these kids were saying, “I just want to wake up one day, and not be a slave. I just want to wake up one day, and know that I’m not chained to the floor, that someone won’t come to take the chains off just to tell me to go have sex with some guy.” They never wanted anything more than, “I’m tired of going in these fields, and working hard every day.  What do I get for it?  I get put right back in the dark, I get hooked to the floor, and I get a thing of bread thrown in front of me as my food.”  This is happening to kids.

That’s why we have to dream as big as we possibly can. It’s through our dreams and determination that we can rescue these kids from slavery and restore them to their talents and their dreams. These kids are suffering and I promise you that Jesus is with them, waiting for you and everyone else to come and love these kids just the way He did: by saving their lives.

Happy Thanksgiving! Dream a big dream. See you Thursday.

Bags of Dreams

Bags of GoldAgain, [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Matthew 25:14-18

Have you read this parable? When the master returns, he generously rewards the two servants who doubled their bags of gold. But it wasn’t a happy ending for the one that buried his gold in the ground. To that servant the master said, “You have done evil! I’m taking your one bag of gold away! I’m going to give it to the guy with ten bags, because he multiplied his giftings.”

The very next thing Jesus talks about is the sheep and the goats. He talks about those who saw Him hungry and fed Him, or saw Him naked and gave Him clothes to wear. So to me, the parables of the bags of gold and the sheep and goats go hand in hand. We should invest the gold we have been given in order to feed Jesus and give Him clothes. The servants who invested the gold are the sheep and the one who buried his gold is the goat.

There’s a reason why we need to strive to make a quality investment with our life!

In order to do that, we have to dream really, really big. We have to dream, because there are kids out there who don’t get to dream. There are countries, whole social areas, where people don’t get to dream. No matter how much they want to dream, it will be impossible until someone – you, me, every Christian – helps them bring justice to their situation. Unless that happens, it will be impossible for them ever to accomplish their dreams.

I’ve had the ability to dream. And I’ve had the ability to accomplish my dreams. And I’m not done accomplishing my dreams. My dreams go so much further than being a professional athlete. You know what? They go so much further than being a World Series champ. My dream is to become a complete human being.

My dream is to know that when I die, people will say, “Man, that guy loved his neighbor as himself. He did what he could with what he had to bring other people’s dreams to fruition.” That’s my goal.

And I think it has to happen. I have my bags of gold, and I want to invest them and multiply them. I want to take what I’ve been given as a human being and put it to work so that I can become the greatest human being I can be. I can do that by knowing that when someone needed my help to accomplish their dreams, I was able to help them in that.

That is what a humanitarian does. That is what a human being does. That is my dream.

What is your dream?

See you Monday.

Be Transformed

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I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Recently I’ve been writing about the vision of Generation Alive’s REACH program. I’ve written about how I believe young kids, especially youth groups, can serve like Jesus. I’ve written about how these kids can change the world. I think I’ve even mentioned that it’s fulfilling and fun to change the world in Jesus’ name!

Last time I outlined how one youth group, through the course of one or two years, can take an impoverished community of people that are going to die, and literally breathe life into them. Now think about what happens to those kids as they grow up knowing they have done something this powerful. Continue reading

Help Your Neighbor Dream

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You have been given so much to accomplish your dreams. But there are people in Haiti, Uganda, and other parts of Africa where people are too hungry to dream. Given a chance, they might say to you, “I can’t dream. I don’t have any food! I can’t even think clearly!”

You might ask them what they dream about, and they might say, “I’m just trying not to die tonight! I don’t have the ability to dream!”

Well, you know what? We’re not going to accept that!

There’s so much we can do! That’s my whole message to young people. You can make a difference. Continue reading

Bags of Gold

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Again, [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Matthew 25:14-18)

Have you read this parable? When the master returned he generously rewarded the two servants who doubled their bags of gold. But it wasn’t a happy ending for the one that buried his gold in the ground. The master said, “You have done evil! I’m taking your one bag of gold and I’m going to give it to the guy with ten bags, because he’s multiplied his giftings.”

The very next thing Jesus talks about here is the sheep and the goats. He talks about those who saw Him hungry and fed Him or saw Him naked and gave Him clothes to wear. So to me, the parables of the bags of gold and the sheep and goats go hand in hand. We should invest the gold we’ve been given in order to feed Jesus and give Him clothes. The servants who invested the gold are the sheep and the one who buried his gold is the goat.

There’s a reason why we need to strive to make a quality investment with our life! Continue reading

What Is Your Dream?

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People often think professional athletes are all puffed up or full of pride. Maybe we think we’re too good to talk to you. People might hesitate to say hi to an athlete because of this. I admit sometimes that’s true. But sometimes we can’t talk to you because we’re trying to get our job done. It’s nothing personal! We just have to focus on doing our job.

But if I don’t have anything to do, I try to spend time with people, especially in the ballpark. I say hi to kids and I shake their hands, and I like to give them high fives and encourage them. I like to let them know that we are human beings. We’re not just robot ballplayers who don’t want to interact with you.

I try to make sure I’m reflecting Christ in a way that’s positive. I just want to love on people, especially the kids. I want to let them know that I’m real, that I care about them, and I hope they do well. A lot of dads will say, “Do you have any advice for my son?” And I always say, “You know, you need to dream, and dream really, really big.” I try to interact with kids and encourage them to dream.

I’d like to encourage you to dream, too. What is your dream? Are you a parent or grandparent or minister? What do your kids dream? What do your congregations dream? Please share your dreams with me! Check out my new Community page, and tell me about your dream. Ask me questions, too!