Kayla Ann has written a guest post for my blog. Many people have dreams, and she writes about a couple that had a dream that God placed on their hearts and how it had blossomed over the years. I trust you will enjoy this post as well as I have and that you will also check out her blog afterwards. Thank you for reading.
What’s your dream?
On October 22, 2017, Sandals Church celebrated their 20th anniversary in the Inland Empire.
In 1997, Pastor Matthew Brown and his wife, Tammy Brown, began a new church named Sandals with a little girl on the way. They had decided to leave their church down by the beach in order to start a new church in the Inland Empire because they believed that was were God called them to go.
They had little support from the surrounding churches and Tammy worked full-time as a teacher in order to support her husband who was fully invested in planning and preaching sermons. Their first church meeting took place in the living room of their home with only a handful of friends present.
However, both Matt and Tammy felt that this was what God was telling them to do and so they held on to their faith and over time, their congregation grew. Pastor Greg Laurie was one of the first pastors to congratulate Matt and Tammy once their congregation reached 100 people.
Over the years, Sandals church as gone from meeting in the small living room of a home, to renting out spaces at other churches or colleges, to finally being able to purchase their own building a few years back which houses 4,000. Today, Pastor Matt and Tammy celebrated 20 years of hard work and wonderful results with the church. Sandals has grown to encompass five different locations within the Inland Empire.
After service, members were encouraged to leave behind a note in response to the following question:
On this anniversary, Pastor Matt Brown talked about “How to Make Your Dreams Come True”
“The key to any dream is not just seeing where you want to go, but being honest about where you are. The bigger the dream the bigger the team.” – Pastor Matt Brown
Make sure the dream comes from God
God’s dream for your life takes honesty with yourself
God Dreams take teams
Never Give up on God’s Dream for your life
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
“Don’t copy the behavior and the customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 NLT
Pastor Matt’s dream for Sandals church has been realized with God’s help and the church’s faith.
Written by Kayla Ann
You can check out Kayla’s blog at: Kayla Ann Author
You can check out the Sandals Church website at: Sandals Church
The LORD has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes. Lamentations 2:17
When God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and made them into their own nation, He told them to follow only Him. He set down the rules that He expected them to follow. Along with giving the rules He gave them the rewards of following Him and the consequences of choosing not to follow Him. If they chose not to follow Him, the consequence would be destruction.
Over time, the Israelites had chosen not to follow God. After many warnings, God followed though on His plan to destroy them because they disobeyed His laws. It was not done on the spur of the moment or in a fit of anger. Their destruction was planned because of the rules laid out many years before.
Although times have changed and the ways of committing sins has changed, God has not. His laws and expectations are still the same. God expects everyone to follow Him with all of their life. Being a loving merciful God, He has laid out what He expects and how to accomplish those expectations. He has provided for every possible need that a person could have.
Many people choose right now to not live for God. Others claim to live for God, yet, purposefully live in some sinful behavior, with no thought to change. God has laid out His plans that those who choose to follow Him will be saved and live for eternity. Those who reject Him, will be punished and banished from Him for eternity.
Although it may not seem to be happening now, or that it will occur, you can be sure that God’s plans will be fulfilled. Some will be saved, while others will be punished.
You have to choose which will occur to you. If you accept and follow God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, you will be saved. If you choose to reject Him and do your own thing, or choose to accept Him, but still do your own thing, you can expect judgment and destruction in the end.
Choose today to follow God with all of your life.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will choose to obey God with all of your life; that you will know the blessings of God in your life; and that God will not have to bring destruction in your life.
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ Jeremiah 38:2
God had a plan to use the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and Judah and bring all the people into captivity. The people had a choice to make. The choice was to either fight against the Babylonians and not go with them, or to surrender to the Babylonians and go with them. God said that those who refused to go would die in some manner. Everyone who went with the Babylonians would live.
Looking at the plan God had for the people it looked insane. Why would God want His people to surrender to the enemy?
The Israelites had chosen for a time to reject God and not follow Him. Going into exile in Babylon was a punishment meant to get them to focus back on Him. In the process of this plan God had their best interest in mind. Living for self or sin would only bring death, living for and following God would bring about life.
There are times in life when God has a plan for a person’s life that looks insane. It does not allows appear to make sense in why God has the person walking down a certain road, yet He does.
Walking into persecution, prison, punishment, pain, or suffering does not appear to be the best thing for a person…according to man. God sees a bigger picture. He sees the end results and the value of everything that occurs in a person’s life.
Going through these situations will be a very difficult choice to make. You need to trust God’s decision and see what God wants you to learn through the situation. The reasons for going through the situation may be one of many different reasons. Know that God has you going through it, if for nothing else, to make you more like Jesus.
The world gives you a path that appears to lead to life, but will only end in death, staying in the city. God will only give you a path that appears to lead to death, but will lead you to life.
One appears sane, but brings death. One appears insane, but brings life. Which will you follow?
I pray today that you will know the plan God has for your life; that you will trust God’s plan for your life; that you will know the life God has for you; and that you will follow God with all of your life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
This is a set of verses that people love to quote. They love to hear the idea that God wants to prosper them and give them a great future. The problem that is common, is that many people do not look at the context in which these verses are written.
At the time God made this statement, the Israelites were going into exile in Babylon. They were prisoners of war. Their homes and towns were destroyed. They were cast out of their homeland. All their belongings were taken away.
As a person reads this, one may wonder how God is planning to prosper them. Why would He be placing them in exile if He wanted to prosper them?
While the Israelites were in captivity, they would show the love of God, by praying for them. They would work hard and serve the Babylonians as though they were serving God. The challenge was that they would have to do this for seventy years before they would receive the prosperity of their homeland again.
God has plans to prosper you, but those plans may be in the long run, not immediate. It may take time to get to that point. On this earth you may never prosper financially as the world sees prosperity, but you may prosper in peace, joy, contentment, and love. You will know that you have a future that will never come to an end. You will know that someday you will have a mansion with many rooms in heaven on a street of gold.
In order to get all of that, however, you must seek God with all of your heart. You must put His desires first in your life. It is not about you and your prosperity or wealth, but what God wants.
Find Jesus and you will have a hope that is above anything the world can offer or has. You may not see it completely this side of heaven, but it is coming, just like the Israelites had to wait for it.
I pray today that you will know God’s plans for your life; that you will trust God’s timing in your life; that you will know the prosperity God has in store for you; and that you will seek God with all of your heart.