Excerpt from "For the Dreams of Children" sermon preached by Danny Nicholson on
July 14, 2019 at Connie Maxwell Baptist Church
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20
Good morning!! Watching Emily and James baptized this morning touches my heart in the deepest way.
Water is the source of life.
Baptism is an external expression of an internal change.
As the water trickled down the heads of these precious children, I was reminded of the joyful voices that Debra and I hear echoing across the campus during pool time.
The “Holy Moments” each of you have experienced beside the clear running rivers in the mountains this summer or the salty breeze that splashed across your face as you walked upon the beach….in the early mornings….. beside the ocean during mission trips.
The rain that falls softly in the woods across the street from our Home at 109 Jamison Street North.
Water is an external source of life for human beings. For the most part, we are made of water and all that surrounds us depends on it.
Water is for flowers that bloom.
Water is for the eternal green - the majestic trees and blankets of grass - that cry out about lasting things across our campus.
Dreams are like water in a similar but very different way.
Dreams are the source of life in the heart and soul.
Dreams nourish our being and inspire us to reach beyond ourselves to something bigger, something more wonderful than we can imagine or ask for.
Dreams are what makes our lives come alive and unfold into something beautiful and lasting.
Dreams are the water of the soul.
Connie Maxwell is a Water Shed
A deep, vast ocean of Love
A strong rolling river of mercy and grace
Connie Maxwell is a Rain Maker…..A Dream Maker.
Our ultimate goal is to make all your dreams come true.
We pray and live and breathe each day to encourage, strengthen, nurture, and provide for your dreams.
Connie Maxwell exist For the Dreams of Children
For 127 years and over 17,000 children and families, Connie Maxwell has carried on the legacy of one seven-year-old girl who died of scarlet fever. Her dad Dr. J.C. Maxwell gave the land we sit on right now and requested one thing.
That Connie would be remembered.
His dream came true because her life has been remembered by the love and care each one of you feel and experience today.
In my mind and heart, the word DREAM was a seed planted in my life in the summer of 2016 beside the ocean in Garden City, S.C. Many of you have heard the story but it is one where water poured down into our souls and brought to life the seeds that had been planted in our hearts all our lives.
It was the moment where our dreams came true.
It was our Damascus Road experience…
The light shined so bright that it blinded us for a moment and brought to life the very thing - the very DREAM that we had been born for….that we had been prepared for every single step of the way.
I will never escape the power of that moment.
I will never quit testifying to the beautiful intimacy of One who knows my heart, my mind, and my dreams better than I do. That moment brought us to our knees in worship and awe-inspiring surrender.
To better understand what happened, I have been studying Paul’s life and during my recent vacation at my dad’s beach house - sitting on the dock near the quiet, tranquil waters - I began reading a biography entitled “Paul” by N.T. Wright. The prominent New Testament scholar whose beautiful, brilliant writings brought me a greater understanding of what happened on Damascus Road and informed me in a clearer way what happened to us during our “holy moment” with a 6-year-old little boy near the ocean in the summer of 2016.
As the story goes - Paul was on a journey - an ordinary day - when a blinding light from heaven pierced through the clouds and brought him to his knees. He raised his head to heaven and came face to face with the one He had worshiped all his life.
He came face to face with Jesus of Nazareth.
This moment shattered Paul’s wildest dreams and, at the same split second, fulfilled them.
This was - he saw it in that instant - the fulfillment of Israel's ancient scriptures, but also the utter denial of the way he had been reading them up to that point.
Paul had been absolutely right in his devotion to the One God, but absolutely wrong in his understanding of who that one God was and how His purposes would be fulfilled.
His life long loyalty was utterly right but utterly misdirected.
He had a zeal for God but had not understood what the One God was up to.
Heaven and earth came together at that moment and He commanded Saul to reorient his entire life accordingly.
Two stories in his mind and heart became One.
I understand in a deeper way why God called Debra and me to be here with you. I can see how God prepared us all our lives to live and love For the Dreams of Children. It still takes our breath away to think about how much God knows us, loves us, and cares about His dreams….our dreams. We are blessed beyond words to be here with you this morning and humbled by the opportunity to share this time with each of you.
Now…don't be mistaken, dreams are more than money, the kind of clothes you wear, power, the position you hold, or fame, the status of the people you know and know you.
All these things are good if used for the right reason.
But in themselves, they are empty and void of meaning.
Our goal here is not to make you happy from the outside….but at peace, content, and full of meaning from within.
Dreams happen within…
If you don’t remember anything I say today…remember this...
Dreams come true within your heart and soul.
We are reminded of this truth in Luke 17:20-21. Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come and Jesus replied,
“The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you."
The kingdom of God is within you.
True peace and contentment are within you.
More than you can ask for or imagine is within you.
The Dream is within you.
So I have one prayer for you….just one.
One prayer that will make the Dreams of Children come true.
My prayer is not that you become an NBA All-Star or a fashion model….
Or own a big fancy car and a mansion on the hill…
Your dreams should run deeper than these things and believe me I know a lot of rich, powerful people in the world who have these things and they will tell you that it is never enough…
It will never be enough.
You can trust me now and remember…..
Things outside of you will never bring you true peace and happiness. Only the heart. Only that which is within you will make your dreams come true.
Religion is not a joke or an entertainment session on Sunday mornings because we have nothing better to do.
The Word of God is not just another book to read….
Praying is not a senseless conversation with your own mind…
The Word of God, worship services, and praying are essential tools that strengthen your relationship with the God within you…..
It is maintenance for the gift of His life placed within you. It is like lifting weights with your heart….making your relationship with God stronger and more intimate with your Creator.
My One prayer is that you allow Jesus to come into your heart and that you surrender to the fact that all happiness, peace and yes….your most cherished dream - the deepest desires in your heart will one day come true.
The dream to be loved,
The dream to be forgiven,
The dream to belong,
The dream to be at peace,
The dream to love your neighbor,
The dream to speak with kindness and gentleness to others,
The dream to be an instrument of peace with your friends and family,
The dream of knowing Jesus as your lasting, loyal, and best friend.
Now our prayers remain......For the Dreams of Children.