Today is the first day of the REST of your life!
We've all heard this statement many times. But the simplicity of this truth has hit me in a fresh way.
Frank and I had the privilege of attending a memorial service yesterday afternoon. The service took place in Pennsylvania so we were part of the hundreds watching via live-stream. The service was a 2 1/2 hour celebration of life. The life of David Andrew Kyllonen.
"Sheri, did you watch the entire service?"
"Was he a family member?"
"Was he your former co-worker? Pastor? Professor?"
Well, the answer to that would be Yes and No.
You see, Dave Kyllonen was a mentor to us. He and his precious wife Judy (married 60 years) had three daughters. Just like us. Dave and Judy served as pastors, evangelists and people with a love for missions. Just like us. They were passionate about family and faith and helping family embrace their faith. Just like us.
So when we met them in 1995, we were immediately drawn to them. Their daughters were serving God even though their dad had been involved in ministry all their lives. We wanted to know how they did it!
The Kyllonens quickly became more than acquaintances. They welcomed us into their home (which was a class A motor home at the time) and into their hearts. They came to our little pioneer work on the coast of NC and ministered to our congregation of 100 as though it was 1000.
Did I mention that Dave had ministered to thousands? He was a founding member of The Couriers, an internationally known men's singing group. As bass singer for The Couriers, Dave had experienced every kind of ministry venue. Huge crowds at conventions and churches were commonplace. Scores of albums recorded; magazine articles; a book or two. They even sang regularly on syndicated television, He had traveled to all fifty states, every province of Canada and several foreign countries when we first met.
But he and his family came alive each evening as they brought hope and a challenge to our fledgling church plant. We were completely taken in by such integrity!
During that first evangelistic outreach in our community, we all realized they had also come to drop a new vision into the hearts of the Hawley family. Dave and Judy, along with their three daughters and their families generously affirmed our work and took time to become friends to each of our daughters.
They were the first to say to us, "Of COURSE, you could do what we're doing! You absolutely could travel to churches and sing and encourage people to fight for wholeness in their families. Don't waste time looking at what you don't have in your hand, look at the resources you DO have. Make today Day One of your next season!"
They were the ones who inspired us to finally "hit the road" in the summer of 1999. What followed was a huge leap of faith and a six year season of our lives. It wasn't an easy path but it was one we look back on with joy. We will forever be glad that we dared to dream, took that leap of faith and acted on our dream.
During our first encounter, Dave preached a message on following your dreams. We wrote down every point and rehearsed it sitting around our own dinner table with our girls. Together we pondered the truth of his message and dared to begin dreaming for our own family.
I want to share the key points, which I still have memorized, with you:
D. Dreams give us DIRECTION. Don't keep plodding along with one day exactly like the other. Dare to dream and see where those God-sized dreams will lead you.
R. Dreams require RISK. It's a proven fact, you will have to risk something in order to follow your dreams; perhaps your nice safe way of life. But remember, the outcome will be worth the risk.
E. Dreams fulfilled will take EFFORT. Everyone hits a wall when pursuing their dream. It takes tenacity and faith to get up, get over the wall and keep going. Make the effort!
A. Dreams will test your ATTITUDE. Can you find something to be grateful for in the middle of the struggle? Check your attitude. Stay optimistic. Believe that God can and He will.
M. Dreams will MOTIVATE the dreamer. Once you've articulated what you hope to make happen, keep that vision clear. Let it motivate you; drive you during the darker turns in your journey.
S. Dreams all have SEASONS. Most dreamers in scripture and in history have had to wait decades to see their dreams fulfilled. But rest assured, when the season is right, your dream WILL be fulfilled.
Isn't that powerful?
Isn't it powerful that even after he has gone on to meet the Savior he served, Dave is still "preaching" hope and encouragement through today's post. I think he'd be happy to know that.
So I bring the challenge to you, dear reader. What dream of your heart needs to be re-visited? Polish it off. Consider again the people that will be impacted by your risk. Listen to the motivation stirring in your soul, perhaps THIS is the season for fulfillment.
Make today DAY ONE in moving toward seeing that dream come about!
How about you? Have you stepped forward in a dream? Tell us about it. Is there a mentor that has been important in your life? Leave a tribute here in the comment section.