This week we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of a great historic moment. Delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King’s prolific speech, “I Have a Dream,” is certainly worthy of attention. I clearly remember hearing Dr. King’s message on television while in Louisiana for a citywide crusade and knew it would have a profound impact our nation for years to come. He was a truly great orator who emphasized peaceful protests, the importance of character, and Christ’s example.
From the early days of our ministry through today, both Billy Graham and I have boldly stood against discrimination, segregation, and unethical treatment of minorities. My entire 50-year ministry, I have placed strong emphasis on the importance of dealing seriously with the racial divide so prevalent throughout America.
The issues we face today are equally important and the only way to overcome them requires the supernatural power and wisdom of God. Unfortunately, that spiritual connection is being short-circuited.
I have been working prayerfully and diligently to encourage and inspire God’s dream to be fulfilled. I long to see the prayer and dream of Jesus fulfilled. God wants a faith-filled family living in supernatural harmony of heart, standing on an unshakable foundation of truth, and revealing the nature of our heavenly Father to a world groping in darkness.
Following God’s prompt, I am in the process of helping bring together a spiritual, kingdom-minded leadership council to offer the wisdom that comes from God through His Word to our national leaders, church leaders, the Christian community, and the general population. One truly anointed individual who has joined his heart and hands with me and other key leaders is Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, leading more than 40,000 Hispanic churches in America. I’m encouraged by his Godly oversight.
Here is his dream, which he shared this week and encouraged others to publish.
I HAVE A DREAM
by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
I have a dream.
I have a dream that this generation will recognize the image of God in every human being, in and out of the womb, without exception.
I have a dream.
I have a dream that Christ followers will stop hiding at the bottom of the threshing floor and emerge as mighty heroes of righteousness and justice.
I have a dream.
I have a dream that as Christians we will be known not by what we oppose or attempt to impose but rather by what we propose; eternal life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I have a dream.
I have a dream that the children of the cross realize that today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity, that moral stagnation leads to spiritual atrophy and that there is no such animal as comfortable Christianity.
I have a dream. I have a dream that children will not be aborted, marriages will thrive and religious liberty will prevail for generations to come.
I have a dream.
I have a dream that truth will never be sacrificed on the altar of expediency, that love will overcome hate, and the prophetic will silence the pathetic.
I have a dream.
I have a dream that this generation will reconcile Billy Graham’s message with Dr. King’s march, sanctification with service and conviction with compassion.
I have a dream that one day we primarily see ourselves not as black, white, brown or yellow, Hispanic, charismatic or automatic, but first and foremost as children of the living God.
I share this dream with Sammy, and we both share God the Father’s dream. Feel free to share his words and this commentary with others.
Americans and national leaders are unable to make wise decisions because too many within our population and the highest offices in the country, including Congress and the courts, fail to acknowledge God. The results limit the blessings of God as the prophets’ warnings come true in our day. Isaiah made it clear that if there is not individual repentance leading to a national refocus and resetting of our compass to true north, we will witness catastrophic consequences.
Since Sammy is calling for the “prophetic, not the pathetic,” let me re-emphasize what perhaps the greatest prophet, Isaiah, shared concerning God’s plan for His people and the result of not following it. After reading my comments, I suggest you read the entire fifth chapter of Isaiah carefully.
God begins by describing His intentions for His beloved, His chosen family, His vineyard. He prepared it, planted the choicest vines, prepared a wine vat and expected His vineyard to produce the best grapes, but it produced worthless ones. He said He had done all He could to protect it and give it every opportunity to be fruitful. God has done this for believers today through Jesus, His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, and the presence of His Holy Spirit to live in us.
When we do not bear fruit, God said the hedge will be broken down and the ground will be trampled, just as Jesus said “salt that loses its effect will be trampled underfoot.” Isaiah prophesied briars and thorns will grow, choking out the fruitfulness and potential productivity, and the rain clouds will be closed. In other words, the economy will be devastated. There will be no productivity, no possible prosperity, no jobs, an increasing sense of desperation and lack. Houses will become desolate. Even great, fine ones will have no occupants. Hard work will yield little increase. People will party all day and night, “refusing to pay attention to the deeds of the Lord or consider the work of His hands. They will go into exile because they lack knowledge of God and truth.”
Isaiah continues, “The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up. Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation” (v. 14, NLT).
The prophet boldly warned, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good, evil; who substitute darkness for light, and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
That “woe” is a warning of the judgment to come and the consequences of godless choices and actions. When any person, group, nation, or its leaders leave God out, they are incapable of consistently making wise, discerning decisions. America’s leadership is not likely to make the right decision concerning Syria and other issues facing us in the Middle East. The solution begins with: “Cease to do evil and begin to do good.” It is certainly right for Americans to be deeply concerned about the murder of innocent people and precious children with chemical weapons in Syria. Is there not good reason to seriously question how many elected to the highest offices in the land express concern for the innocent in Syria while openly approving and defending the continual slaughter of the innocent unborn in the womb? Is this not blatant hypocrisy? In the 59th chapter, Isaiah proclaimed, “It is sin that has separated us from God.” He emphasized, “feet run to do evil and hasten to shed innocent blood.” God, forgive us!
We all battle the enemy of life, experience personal defeat from time to time, and miss the mark. So desperate is our own battle that we must lean on one another and be willing to share our hearts, concerns, and struggles with other members of the family of faith. We must feel secure and safe within the hedge of that protective, redemptive love. No matter what our struggle is, or how often we may be personally defeated, we must continue to battle. We must never try to justify our failures, sin, disobedience, or disregard God’s truth by changing His Word into a lie! This is what many Americans have done, to their own demise. One reason is because the family of God has failed to be fruitful. We’re not winning hearts and minds to Christ. We’re not seeing people transformed by the power we claim is in us. We have given too much of our own lives and land to the father of lies, the deceiver, and destroyer.
It’s time to wake up, stand up, become fruitful, and lead our nation back into the shelter and shadow of the Almighty, beginning with the church. We can see not only the dream of Samuel Rodriguez fulfilled—but God’s dream, as well. That is my dream. I pray it’s yours.