Imagine for a moment that somebody provided a servant for you. A rich friend just decided to bless you by hiring someone to help you—around the house, at the office, wherever you need assistance.
Once you thanked your friend for his kindness, what would you do?
You’d put that servant to work, that’s what. You’d give him a list of all the things you’ve dreamed of getting done but haven’t had time to do yourself. Housecleaning. Gardening. Detailing the car. The list would go on and on…
You certainly wouldn’t leave the servant sitting on the couch all day with nothing to do. You wouldn’t let him idle away his time watching television while you rushed around trying to get things done by yourself. That would be foolish. That would be a waste of the servant’s time, and your friend’s generosity.
Nobody in their right mind would do that. Yet spiritually speaking, we as believers do it all the time. We neglect the spiritual assistance we’ve been given. We leave the servant called faith, which God has so graciously provided for us, sitting around idly with nothing to do.
“Wait a minute,” somebody might say. “Did you just call faith our servant?”
Yes, I did. But I didn’t come up with the concept myself. I got it from Jesus. He compared faith to a servant in Luke 17. When the disciples asked Him to increase their faith, He said,
“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not” (verses 6-9, New King James Version).
A White-Hot Expectation
Obviously Jesus didn’t view faith the way most people do today. He didn’t see it as something fragile and religious—meant to be used like fancy china, only on special occasions. Jesus considered faith a workhorse, an able-bodied helper given to us by God to roll up its sleeves and get the job done.
Exactly what job is faith designed to do?
It is designed to transfer material from the realm of the spirit into this natural realm. Faith goes into the spiritual world, lays hold of what is already there and manifests it in the natural world of matter. Hebrews 11:1 says it this way: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is what clothes our God-given, Bible-based hopes with natural substance. It’s what makes them become a reality in this material world. So when believers don’t cultivate hope in their hearts, faith is left with nothing to do.
“But, Brother Copeland,” you might say, “I have lots of hope. I’m hoping for a better job. I hope my kids will do well in school. I’m hoping it won’t rain tomorrow so I can go fishing.”
That’s not hoping. That’s wishing. True Bible hope is much more powerful than that. The definition of the Greek words translated hope in the New Testament literally means “an intense, white-hot expectation that something is coming to pass.”
Most believers have very little of that kind of hope because it’s born out of Holy Spirit-inspired dreams—dreams based and built on the promises of God’s Word and heaven’s bounty. A dream becomes hope when the dreamer starts expecting it to come to pass.
And there lies the problem. Too many believers have stopped dreaming.
Not Just Kid Stuff
As for me, I’ve been a dreamer all my life. As a little boy, I had an imagination as big as all outdoors. (I still do. I can entertain myself for hours.) One of my most enduring dreams began when I was a kid during World War II. There was an Army air base just outside the West Texas town where I grew up and they used to fly squadrons of P-47 Thunderbolts out of there. Since I was practically born with the desire to fly, I’d lie on my back porch and imagine what it would be like to be in those planes looking down through the clouds at my house.
Once when I was about 8 years old, a man who owned a Lockheed X offered to fly my dad and me around the city and I got to sit up front with the pilot. I absolutely couldn’t keep my hands off the yoke. We ended up sitting on the ground for a while and I spent the whole time in the cockpit making airplane noises and dreaming about flying that plane.
I realize that just sounds like kid stuff to most people, but over the years that dream became a hope, and by the time I was in my 20s I was flying airplanes for a living. My dream had become a reality.
If that was the end of the story, my dream of flying wouldn’t have been of any eternal value. But that wasn’t the end of it because in 1967, that dream ran head-on into the Word of God. And a dream that is based purposely on God’s Word and on His promises becomes more than just a personal desire. It becomes spiritual seed that is guaranteed to produce fruit for the kingdom of God and bring rewards that will last forever.
All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
Jesus taught about that kind of spiritual seed in Mark 4. (Study the whole chapter carefully if you want to see how to take your dreams from hope…to faith…to reality.) He said: “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade" (verses 30-32, New King James Version).
Notice Jesus said that when a divine dream seed is fully grown, others can rest in its shade. That’s the wonder of Word-based, Holy Spirit-inspired dreams. They not only satisfy the longings of our own hearts, they glorify God and bless others as well. They bring increase to the kingdom of God.
That’s what happened with my childhood dream of flying. It became a spiritual seed on my very first day in full-time ministry. I’ll never forget that day. I got up early in the morning, put on the only suit I owned and went to the living room of our little house.
I didn’t have anywhere else to go. Nobody had asked me to preach yet. I was just stepping out in faith and obeying God.
As I took out my yellow pad and Bible, I started to dream about what the Lord had told me to do. He’d commanded me to preach the uncompromised Word of God on every available voice. He’d instructed me to preach that Jesus is Lord from the top of the world to the bottom and all the way around.
So I began to say it. I stood in my living room and declared, “I’ll preach that Jesus is Lord. I’ll preach that Jesus saves. I’ll preach that He baptizes in the Holy Ghost and heals. I’ll preach that He is our financier, the Lord of the Harvest, and the soon-coming King. And I’ll preach it from the top of the world to the bottom, and all the way around the middle!”
Go as Far as You Can
Then it dawned on me. I can’t do that without an airplane!
Of course, about that time, my old fleshly mind piped up and asked me how I thought I was going to buy an airplane when I could hardly afford to get out of the living room. But I decided not to pay any attention to it. I said, “I don’t have time to think about that. Glory to God, I’m too busy dreaming about going around the world! I’m too busy seeing myself preaching the Word of God to multiplied thousands of people.”
Before the end of that first day in ministry, the phone rang and Pastor Harold Nichols from Fort Worth, Texas, asked me to come to his church and preach. I accepted…and we were on our way.
I didn’t know where I was going after that. But I had a dream and a vision. I had hope and I kept that hope alive by meditating on God’s promises and feeding continually on His Word. I figured I’d just go as far as I could go and expect God to take care of the rest.
Sure enough, He did. A few days after I finished the meetings at Pastor Nichols’ church, Hilton Sutton asked me to come preach a meeting at his church in Houston, Texas. “When can you come?” he asked.
“Right now!” I answered.
Brother Sutton asked me to come for a weekend and we wound up staying three weeks. It was marvelous.
The last night of the meeting Brother Hilton’s dad asked me to come to his church in Beaumont, Texas.
God Put a Dreamer in You
I charged down to Beaumont full of hope and enthusiasm. I’d been dreaming of preaching to thousands so I was expecting a landslide. But what I found when I got there was a mess. A flu epidemic had hit the church and the first morning the only ones who showed up for the meeting were the pastor, his wife and two other people. The next meeting two more people showed up.
At first, I let that get to me. I let it cut off my dream. But after I spent some time in prayer, the Lord showed me I Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
I saw it. I had to roll all the care of the meeting over on Him. Carrying the care was killing my dream. The care said, “There’s no hope of you having a meeting here.” But faith said, “I don’t have a care. I’ll preach whether anyone comes or not. That’s what I’m called to do—preach the Word. Period!”
I got back on my feet again. I decided the first thing we needed to do was get these people healed. So the pastor and I took our anointing oil and went out praying for the people. Every one of them got healed, except for one man who just refused to get out of bed.
The next service, I went in and preached like there were 15,000 people there. I preached all over the room. I preached up and down the aisles. There were still less than a dozen people but I was shouting the victory like the place was full. As I remember, there was one sinner there and the rest were believers, but that one sinner got saved. As far as I was concerned, that was 100 percent success—we were having a landslide!
Afterward, somebody said, “That poor preacher hasn’t ever been to seminary. He’s so dumb he doesn’t know the difference between a landslide and a flop!”
He didn’t realize that I was a dreamer. He didn’t know that while I was preaching, I was seeing that place full. I was seeing people crowded in until they were hanging out the windows. Before the week was out, that dream had become hope…that hope had clothed itself with faith…and the building was literally running over with people. It only held about 130, and by Friday night they had to raise the windows so the people outside could hear. We stayed and held two services a day for 21 days. It was glorious.
That was almost 40 years ago now, and I’ve been dreaming Holy Ghost dreams ever since. I’ve spent my life preaching that Jesus is Lord to multiplied thousands and flying from the top of the world to the bottom and all the way around. Over the years, my dreams have gotten bigger—and I’m not finished yet.
“Yeah, but Brother Copeland, that’s just you. You’re a dreamer.”
So are you, my friend. If you’re a born-again believer, God has put dreams inside of you, and He’s given you a servant called faith to bring those dreams to pass.
So stir yourself up. Stir up your divine imagination and reach out into the heavenlies. Immerse yourself in the Word of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and dare to dream the dreams He gives you. Bring your hope to a higher level by declaring the Word, and keep meditating that Word until your hope is clothed with faith, and that faith reaches into the realm of the spirit and makes your dream a reality.
Don’t let fear or past disappointments hold you back. Plant your dream like a mustard seed so it can grow up and become greater than the impossibilities in your life. Plant it so it can grow up and become a source of blessing, encouragement and support for others.
God is waiting for you to dream. The people you were born to bless are waiting for you to dream. So don’t let the devil stop you. Dream on, my friend. Dream on.