Dreaming

MLK Jr. had a dream.

He spoke it so eloquently at the 1963 March on Washington Capital for Equal Rights. He dreamed that people of every race would be able to declare in the words of that old spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty! We are free at last!”

I have this reoccurring dream that I have dreamt for most of my adult life. It’s pretty hilarious! Let me try to explain it:

My dream can take place in various settings and situations, but the essence of it is the same: I am in some sort of physical danger – running from Police, barking dogs, angry employees (and I don’t even have my own business) church members, dinosaurs, headless horseman, Darth Vader, Jaws… it can be and has been any kind of chase scenario you might imagine in your head.

They are after me, you see.

For whatever reason, be it something good or something bad, they are out to get me! They are chasing me. But Im not afraid. At all! What?

Yeah and in fact, the most negative feeling I can ever recall during one of these dreams is maybe some anxiety. But even that is just part of the pleasure. And, its so funny. They have no clue – they think they are gonna catch me! And I pity them. Ha ha ha. They never are able to catch me!

Just when I got them thinking that they are going to catch me, I do what comes naturally and so easy to me… it hardly takes any effort – I simply lift my legs up at the knee, look up, put a little tension in the arches of my feet, and I begin to fly! Woo hoo! It’s amazing!

Now I can fly two feet in the air, three feet, ten feet… I have even flown as high as one hundred feet above them all! And they can’t catch me! They are so mad, so angry. But I look back and smile. They had no clue they were chasing “Jeff – the flying man!”

This may sound ridiculous (and, it is of course) but in the middle of my dream, I am certain that it is real. In fact it takes a few minutes to realize I was dreaming when I first wake up after such a crazy adventure in my subconscious.

Dreams are like that. They are unrealistic fantasies that have no basis in reality – yet.

Hey, let’s ease up on dreams for just a moment. We give those dreams a bad rap. My cousin became a pilot in his twenties and flew with the Blue Angels. He was and is a commercial airline pilot. My dream my be just fantasy to me, but my cousin made this dream HIS REALITY.

And in fact, if I really wanted to, I could go purchase a para-sail rig or something of the like and actually soar over it all for a while.

For me, flying is a fantasy and not actually something I want to do. I like my GROUND just fine, thank you!

But I do have other dreams, that are crazy at first thought, but have various opportunities to make them a reality to me, if I pursue them. I always wanted to direct a movie. But it was just a dream! I would actually day-dream about this for years. I finally realized, I could make it a reality if I gave it my best effort.

So I did. You can see my film trailer at www.heartofthecitymovie.com

It took a long time, and created more dreams in my heart. I now want to make another film that is a commercial success. I actually have many friends and family that did not see my dream of directing film as valid unless my film became the low budget miracle of the ages and hit the big time – like a movie I must confess, I like a lot – “Facing The Giants”.

I have dreamed that my movie would have had the success that Facing the Giants has had. But that has not been the case, yet. On the other hand, before “Facing the Giants” these filmmakers made “Flywheel”. Never heard of it? Thats because you really can’t make your first film into the blockbuster miracle. That’s where you learn all of the mistakes and realities of distribution, marketing, film production. Imagine if Thomas Edison was only allowed to make one successful test of the light bulb? We would be still traveling on horseback and using torches for light.

Broadway will never take an unproduced play for that very reason – somebody has to do the grunt work of developing, testing, fine tuning and tweaking that play on smaller stages. When something makes it to Broadway, it must be pristine and basically perfect.

Another thing that is a known principle in Hollywood is that you must make the 1000 dollar movie to make the 10,000 film. Then you must make the $10,000 film before you can make the $100,000 film. Then you must make the $100,000 film before you can make the Million Dollar film. Every filmmaker must grow this way. Very seldom does a new filmmaker make a multi-million dollar budget film on their first try.

If this is the case, I’m ready to make my Million dollar film! (but not with my own money! hint hint) Now, I may make another movie. But then again, I may not. Either way, for me, my dream of directing a full length feature film that played in several festivals and venues was a reality.

Do you have a dream? Does it seem too good to be true? If not, it is not a dream.

So follow MLK Jr’s example today and make it the best reality you can.

Until next time,

Jeff

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Risk

Ever been to Vegas?

I have. I don’t gamble. I really don’t like casinos. The entire scene is a tad bit off-putting for me. I like some of the cheap food and the amazing shows. I wouldn’t say my dislike for Vegas has anything to do with strong moral objections. I mean, in every city in the world there are places that most folks would find morally objectionable. On the other hand, we are living in this world and sometimes we find our calling right in the midst of a sinful environment. Jesus expects us to learn how to live a pure and ethically clean life while simultaneously reaching out and being a light to a dark world.

Kind of a tricky deal.

Vegas has taught many people lessons about risk. Yet when you think about it, choices we make every day have an element of risk. When we vote, send our kids to school, apply for a job, join a church, shop for a new or used car, or purchase a home, we are putting ourselves in a position of risk. Life involves risk taking. Even simple things like drivng our car to work involve a certain amount of risk.

When it comes to our faith, we may face choices that involve risking our comfort, reputation or even friendships. Although I greatly dislike being put in a vulnerable position, I also realize that great success cannot occur without stepping out into the unknown. When Jesus told Peter to walk on the water with him, Peter was afraid. I guess I am more like Peter than I want to admit. At least Peter took that first step or two and walked for a few moments.

Maybe it’s time to walk across the neighbor’s pool.

Baby steps.

What’s Your Story?

I love a good story.

Especially do I love a good story well told.

One of my favorite memories growing up was listening to my father and his brothers telling stories about their childhood. The crazy pranks they pulled on each other growing up on a Southern Minnesota farm rank in my mind as some of the most hilarious and outlandish stories I can ever remember hearing.

One such story that I recall them telling often was when my uncle (5 uncles and 1 aunt on my father’s side) was a teenager and working shirtless in the yard under a sweltering sun, my father (2 years younger) saw a perfect opportunity to pull the daily prank. He plucked a corn cob out of the field, emptied the core, and filled it with the usual load of gun powder. Then my father attached a fairly short wick – judging his distance (as all of them had become increasingly proficient at estimating when it came to homemade explosives), he snuck behind the large hay barn, and lit the wick. Immediately he flung the corn bomb over the barn, not really knowing how close his throw was to hitting his brother.

It should be noted that this particular corn cob was not of the soft sweet corn variety. Rather, it was the hard as rock kernel kind. As luck, or fate, would have it, my father threw the most accurate corn grenade in the history of corn cob explosive tosses. It was heading point blank for the bare back of my bent-over uncle. And when it got to about five feet from his back, it exploded into a spray of hard corn kernel shrapnel. Needless to say, I shrill cry of agonizing pain went out from the family acreage and was heard fifteen miles away in every direction. Cut to – the lifeless body of my uncle laying prostrate and unconscious on the ground, with about one hundred red dots swelling at a rapid rate.

That story has been told probably over a thousand times over the years. The amazing thing is, it was just one story among dozens and dozens of equally dangerous and hilarious stories about my father’s family. Somehow they survived, I am happy to report!

The skill with which each uncle told their story is especially remarkable. After a few of these story sessions, it was clear they had learned the art of telling stories. They all seemed to have a knack for setting up each story with enough backdrop and detail, but also knew how to deliver the pay-off, or punch line depending on the story.

They were all true stories, with very little exaggerations. But what was amazing was the roar of laughter that was always produced with each story. Many times, there were twenty or thirty cousins and nephews and aunts and relatives gathered around. I dont know if I have ever laughed harder in my life.

I have always been a story-teller. I have always enjoyed hearing stories and watching or reading stories. Most likely this has to do with my upbringing.

God is the ultimate storyteller. It has been said that the story of Jesus is the ultimate story. Some of the greatest movies of all time have a messianic storyline. Many superhero storylines follow a messianic plot line. In fact, God is in the habit of making great stories out of you and I. Each one of us has a journey, a destiny, a story to fulfill. Just read the Old Testament for five minutes and you will come across some amazing stories of people in need, and trusting God as He once again comes through.

So the next time you find yourself really enjoying a good story, just think about the story you are in – your own life! Believe God for miracles in your life today. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t let others discourage you. Usually those who discourage us are too afraid to finish their own story so they spend their time foolishly tearing down other’s stories. Quite frankly, the Bible has strong words for the small people who resort to such actions. Don’t give up on your story! But even when we fall down, He will be there to complete the story He started in you! (Philippians 1:6)