Dream Again

by Bob Turner on December 28, 2023

One way that God speaks is through dreams.

Jacob dreams of a ladder with angels ascending and descending (Gen. 28:10-19). His son Joseph is a dreamer (Gen. 37) who later interprets dreams (Gen. 40-41). Dreams are similar to visions; they are ways that God communicates his will. Through dreams, God shows an interest in the future and lets human characters know how they can participate in it. The most significant response to God’s work in human history comes at Pentecost, where thousands of people declare their allegiance to God’s recent work in Jesus. They see themselves as enacting a prophecy:

“In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

    your young men will see visions,

    your old men will dream dreams” 

Peter quotes the prophet Joel (Acts 2:17) to show that God’s spirit would now be distributed among all believers. Spiritual vision and insight would not be limited to an elite group. Anyone who confesses Jesus can be full of the Holy Spirit and be led by God.

But dreams did not end at Pentecost. Christians have had dreams ever since.

In the Greco-Roman world there was a widespread practice called exposure, where unwanted newborns would simply be left outside to die. Early Christians became distinctive because they would take these children and give them homes. They had a dream for a different world. By the 4th century churches were running what we’d call orphanages.

During this time, Christians were troubled by the way that disease would rip through communities. They had a dream and established xenodocheia, “houses for strangers,” where they cared for immigrants, the poor, and those with infirmities. We now call these institutions hospitals.

In the 19th century in America many faith leaders not only tolerated slavery and racial discrimination, they often used the Bible to support it. Christian abolitionists knew better. They had a dream. A century later, when Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and told us about his dream. 

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Churches have dreams, too. In 1954 a group of Christians had a dream for God’s mission in East Memphis. They cobbled together funds to pay for ministry. They sold land and built facilities. They welcomed guests and sent out missionaries. They made the decision to start and then followed it with the decision to stay. They followed a dream.

As we enter 2024, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of this dream. White Station has joined  God in bringing Christ to the world and reconciliation to the city. We have partnered to feed the hungry, house the homeless, reach the lost, and heal the broken. This neighborhood is better served and heaven will be more full because of that dream in 1954.

But this dream is not over. Every generation needs to dream again. We need fresh convictions of how God is leading us. We need to prayerfully ask and discern how God is speaking to us today.

Our theme for 2024 is Dream Again.

  • In 70 years what will have come through small groups formed among White Station partners?
  • In 70 years what kingdom influence will come through mentoring 4th graders at Leadership Prep?
  • In 70 years what will God have done through the Isaiah 117 House adjacent to this campus?
  • In 70 years how will Memphis be blessed through the ministry of a community of different ages and cultures who join God in the city?
  • In 70 years how will eternity look different because one group in Memphis chose to  listen to God’s voice, imitate Jesus, follow the Holy Spirit?

Let’s Dream Again.


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