Sunday 29th December 2019
As we approach the New Year, and new decade, there will be those that do and those that don’t – make resolutions, that is. Generally, there are two different approaches: dreamers and realists. Approaching the New Year, the dreamers will say, “This is the year. This time I’m going to….” The realist responds, “This is the fourth year in a row you’ve said that.” Dreamers love to dream – even if some of those dreams don’t actually happen. Realists love to make everyone else miserable – no, I mean they ask, “How can we achieve that?” Neither is better than the other; it’s just a different approach.
Today, whether you are a dreamer or a realist, I want to suggest there is a different way to look at 2020 and that is to look at it through the lens of possibility. Realists, why is this important for you? As one of the dreamers in the room, we appreciate your pushback and your questions. BUT, you must be very careful not to slide from being a realist to a pessimist. “How can we do that?” is totally different to, “We can never do that.”
Dreamers, it’s fantastic to dream, but it’s not good to leave it as a dream. You need to develop a plan and work on it. That’s why dreamers and realists need each other.
Possibility fuels the potential for a better future, for a better year. Every invention starts off because someone believed that something was possible. That belief fuelled the potential of what they were called to do.
Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you don’t believe it’s possible, you are correct. You won’t try, so it will never happen.
Let me give you an example of two guys who've understood this and these two guys, and I'm about to show you, have impacted your life both directly and indirectly. These two guys right here. These two gentlemen have had a direct impact on your life. Both directly and indirectly. These two gentlemen are Wilbur and Orville Wright. The Wright brothers. They had no technical training at all, in fact, they never finished school at all. You know what they were? They were bicycle shop owners and their hobbies were watching birds and drawing pictures of birds. That's what they did. And then one day, as they were drawing a picture of a bird, one of the brothers turned to the other brother and said, “I think it's possible that we can harness the principles and dynamics that birds are harnessing and create something that man can ‘cause mankind to fly’.” And if you've ever flown in a plane, you can trace it right back to these two gentlemen who believed in the power of possibility.
In his book, The Wright Brothers, David Mccullough said, "The fact is that these guys had no business figuring this out." He continues, "In no way did any of this discourage or deter Wilbur and Orville Wright, any more than the fact that they had no college education, no formal technical training, no experience working with anyone other than themselves, no friends in high places, no financial backers, no government subsidies and little money of their own. Or the entirely real possibility that at some point they could be killed."
In fact, at the same time, the United States government paid a gentleman Samuel Langley, $70,000 to try to figure out how to fly. He hired the best engineers, scientists and staff he could find. The key difference between the Wright Brothers and Langley was the reasoning behind their endeavours. The Wright Brothers had become enamoured with the thought of flight and were determined to discover it’s secrets. They believed in the idea of human flight so strongly that nothing would get in their way. They had a purpose.
On the other hand, Langley was driven by the fame and riches that would come from such an accomplishment.
The brothers were both dreamers and realists. Langley failed. The Wright brothers figured it out for less than a thousand dollars and had four flights on Dec 17, 1903. It's the power of possibility. Whether you're a dreamer, or you’re a realist. If you don't believe it's possible, you are correct, but possibility can fuel the potential for a better future, for a better year, for a better you. Today Langley’s name graces a major NASA centre, an Army airbase and the CIA HQ, however, having come second, Langley gave up his interest in flight.
So practically speaking, how do we apply this thinking about possibility?
One question is this: What do you think is possible for you in the New Year? Do you think it's possible to take steps to change your financial situation, so that you can take steps to be more financially free, do you think that's possible for you? If you do, then you've taken a step forward, if you don't, you are correct. What do you think is possible for your marriage? Do you think it's possible for your marriage to get better? If you don't, then you are correct. What do you think is possible that will help you? What do you think is possible for your life? What do you think is possible for your emotional life? What do you think is possible for your spiritual life? What do you think is possible in the New Year? And if you, whether you're a dreamer or you're a realist, if you can begin to answer this question, it's a very helpful way to view the year ahead.
The more important question is: what does God think is possible for you in the New Year? What I’m suggesting is that the Creator of the Universe thinks there are possibilities for you next year. You might say that you don’t believe in God and nothing I’m saying today is likely to change your mind. Of course, you are entitled not to believe in God. However, I have to tell you even if you don’t believe in him, he believes in you and longs to bless you with his presence.
So what does God think is possible for you in the New Year, specifically here's a list of what God thinks is possible for you in the year ahead. God thinks love is possible, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control – these are all possible for you in this next year. And I don't know how you feel when you see this list. You might think, "Well, that's a lovely list." Please understand, this isn't just a lovely list; this is a powerful list.
These are fruit produced by God’s Spirit in us. So, if you're being wrecked by addiction right now and you need self-control, Jesus says it's possible. If your relationships are being wrecked right now because you're impatient and harsh, then patience and gentleness are possible. If there's anger or bitterness in your heart, Jesus says love and kindness are possible. If worry and anxiety or depression are pushing you down and battering you, Jesus says peace and joy are possible for you.
In 2020 God wants to show you all that’s possible if you trust him, and he offers life-affirming, life-enhancing fruit so that you can achieve it. God’s plan is that each of us become more like Jesus in 2020. That doesn’t exclude our dreams and possibilities – as we give ourselves to God, he gives us big dreams and enables us to see what’s possible. It’s as we take steps of faith into those dreams that we learn from God and become more like Jesus. It’s as we walk with God that he shows us our purpose. Ask God to show you what he has for you in 2020.