Pray for a Barnabas (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers)

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Sometimes talent and enthusiasm aren’t enough. Sometimes what you know or what you can accomplish aren’t as important as who you know. This is a sad but true fact of life. Just check your history books. Christopher Columbus had an incredible dream and the chutzpah to chase it all the way across the Atlantic to “The New World”; but until he received the support and financial backing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Captain Columbus was going nowhere fast.

We’ve often discussed the deep human need for meaningful relationships. Having friends, family, and associates who encourage and support you in the pursuit of your dreams can mean the difference between success and failure; but unfortunately, there are times when even this is not enough.

Creators and dreamers often need capable and influential people who can help open doors of opportunity; people who are willing to assist, facilitate, and promote others. As we stated earlier, many of us will find it nearly impossible to succeed without a helping hand. Truth is, practically no one ever makes it ALONE.

Ford races to find the Cup of Christ, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Harrison Ford might still be a carpenter, if not for some savvy Hollywood producers who saw his potential and offered him a shot at stardom. Today the veteran actor is famous for portraying three iconic characters: archeologist and lost ark discoverer Indiana Jones; good-hearted space rogue Han Solo; and Tom Clancy’s patriotic CIA operative, Jack Ryan.

Popular Christian recording artist Ricardo Sanchez (who cowrote the classic “Moving Forward”) might be unknown today, if not for the support and encouragement he received from Pastor Jentezen Franklin. The same can be said of Bishop T. D. Jakes, who struggled for years in obscurity until TBN cofounder Paul Crouch, Sr. chanced upon a local broadcast featuring the minister — and then went out of his way to find and promote the man.

Star Wars: young dreamers often need a golden facilitator to point the way!

Star Wars creator George Lucas got a helping hand from director Francis Ford Coppola; and Francis Ford Coppola got a hand from director Roger Corman. In fact, Corman, the king of low-budget “B” movies, either discovered, promoted, or facilitated dozens of future creators and dreamers, including director Ron Howard and actor Jack Nicholson.

Oprah: “You can do it!”

Author Dr. Phil can thank Oprah Winfrey; and Oprah can thank producer Steven Spielberg. But if you prefer a more exciting example, Captain John Smith can thank the young Native American princess Pocahontas — for saving his red-bearded head from the chopping block! Thank God for understanding people who are willing to help others realize their dreams. Even Jesus Christ had a band of believers who helped Him with the legwork of His ministry on earth.

Could you use a similar boost? Have you ever felt like you were spinning your wheels on the road to success? Well, to achieve tough goals, to fulfill huge dreams, you may need a little help from someone with specialized skills, experience, connections, or capital. A “friend” who’s willing to lend a helping hand, give some guidance, introduce you to the right people. You may need an agent, a mentor, a facilitator, a collaborator. You may need a Barnabas.

What’s a Barnabas? A person who’s willing to help another complete their “mission” in life. Someone who can open the right door for you, point you in the right direction, and get you started on your way. In the Book of Acts, there was a man named Barnabas who did this for the Apostle Paul, and the Gentile Church owes this Jewish facilitator a great debt of gratitude. (Allow us to point out that the faith we Christians celebrate today had Jewish roots. In fact, Christianity started out as a Jewish sect.)

Sooner or later we all need a Barnabas. No, NOT the creepy Dark Shadows anti-hero. Heavens no!

The Apostle Paul had a dream and a mission: to begin spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world — namely, the Gentiles. And Paul was the best person for the job. He had the knowledge, the experience and the wisdom — and the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul had “the right stuff,” but not the right connections.

Actually, Paul had no connections, and no friends among the Jewish followers of Christ (or Yeshua). What Paul did have was an extremely bad reputation. Seems that before believing in Christ, the Apostle Formerly Known as Saul had a track record of persecuting his Jewish brethren, and he’d been responsible for the deaths of many of them. Paul had changed, but in the eyes of Jewish believers, he was an unknown quantity, a liability, perhaps even a risk.

Barnabas impacted history.

Despite his passion and his qualifications, Paul wasn’t going anywhere as far as the Jewish leadership were concerned. “When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer!” (Acts 9:26 NLT) That’s when Barnabas, the quintessential facilitator and all-around nice guy, stepped forward.

“Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.” (Acts 9:26-27 NLT) Not only did Barnabas vouch for Paul, but he also joined the apostle on his mission. Barnabas helped Paul to achieve his objective and to fulfill his dream.

Sooner or later we all need a little help. Sooner or later we all need a Barnabas. We need for someone to put in a good word, help us with a project, or just be a good friend. No matter how self-sufficient we are, we can accomplish even more with a little help from our friends. Okay, so where do we find a Barnabas in a society filled with people who only look out for themselves? For that matter, why aren’t there more Barnabas people in the world? Join us next time for the startling answers!

Pick up Tom & Wilma’s latest book, Spiritual Boot Camp or Creators & Dreamers

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Where Do Dreams Dwell? (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers)

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Get Tom & Wilma’s new book.

One of the wisest men of all time, the Biblical King Solomon, once wrote, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV) These words of wisdom are as fresh and as relevant today as when they were first recorded, nearly 3000 years ago. And, this advice is vital to creators and dreamers alike — actually, to every last one of us.

Committing all our efforts to God, and then entrusting Him with both the process and the outcome, requires us to do two interrelated things: Lean on the Lord (previously discussed) And…

Abide in the Lord!

Humility in the face of God is acknowledging that without Him, we can accomplish nothing worthwhile. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from Me you can’t do a thing.” (John 15:5 CJB) Ouch! The image the Lord uses is clear: God is like a grapevine laden with ripe fruit. But we’re like the thick gnarly branches of a tree. If someone looks at us and sees us laden with juicy grapes, it’s only because we’ve allowed ourselves to become entangled in the fruit-bearing vine of our God.

Now, with human effort, we can accomplish stuff … on our own … in our own strength, in our own way and timing. But if we act independently of God, we’ll never fulfill His perfect will and divine purpose for our lives. Hence, we’ll never get to see just how amazing things would have turned out — if we’d allowed God to be the architect and builder of our dreams and artistic endeavors. And we’ll never realize the incredible heights of achievement or see all the wonderful places God wanted to take us — because we refused to let Him drive! And navigate us through the road of life.

In our own strength and wisdom, we can accomplish “great things.” But such things carry little if any spiritual weight. They lack eternal value and they’ll always pale in comparison to what God can accomplish THROUGH us! We just need to trust Him enough to let Him steer, remembering that God said, “…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.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Getting back to John 15:5, some Bible translations use the phrase “whoever abides in Me,” but the idea is the same. To abide means: to dwell and to rest; to remain or stay; to be firm and unmovable. God wants us to dwell with Him, to rest in His strong arms, and above all, to stay connected to Him, the source of our strength and creativity. We can do this by making Him our “First Love,” by keeping Him as our #1 Priority, by allowing Him to guide us in all things, and by seeking to obey Him in all areas.

The act of “Abiding in the Lord” doesn’t simply happen. It’s a discipline, expressed by one’s attitude and actions, which must be sought and developed. We begin by believing in God’s Word and His promises; by entrusting Him with our lives, as well as our hopes and dreams; and by banking on His infinite love, mercy, and faithfulness. Then, instead of focusing on the problems and challenges of life, we must keep our focus on God’s Divine nature and character, and His ability and willingness to meet each and every need — always remembering that “God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

Learning to abide will also require spending some quality time with God each day, during which we fellowship with Him through Bible study and prayer. We’ll discuss “Tapping into the Power of Prayer,” in our next Boot Camp session.

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