Chapter OneGod is like a DREAMER
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the
desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust
in him and he will do this.-Psalm 37:4-5
Learn the difference between helpful and hurtful dreaming.
Understand that God is a dreamer, dreamed up dreaming, and wants to
give us our dreams.
Dream about how God might use them.
Dream of a land .
Have students get into groups of three or
four. Ask them to imagine an island where
there are no influences from the outside world,
unless they want them. As a group, they have
to dream up the whole culture, including the
following items (write these on a whiteboard, if
A name for this new country
A motto for the country's flag
The national sport
Five subjects taught in school
After all the groups are done, have them present
their new countries
and cultures to
the whole group.
Make sure you don't
let kids tease or
ridicule the work of
will be nervous about
What's a dream?
Most young teens will initially think of the kind
of dreams people have when sleeping. But they
should also realize that a dream is something
you hope for or long for.
Why do people dream, not the night-time
kind of dream, but the hope-for
Because they want something better or different.
They want their lives to change.
Is this kind of dreaming good or bad?
Your kids will probably expect there to be a right
Answer on this question, and might be cautious in
answering. Really, dreaming can be good or
bad, depending on the focus of the dream.
If someone dreams of having sex all the
time, well, I think we can agree that's not good
dreaming-it's called building, I think we can
safely say that's not good
But a dream about
Who you might become or
what you might do in life-that's
probably good. A
dream about how God
might use you? Definitely
God the dreamer
Pass out copies of God the Dreamer (page
15) and pens or pencils (or markers or
crayons or eyeliner pencils or caulking guns) to
each student. If you're using both God the
Dreamer and Dream On!
(page 16) in the next activity,
it would be great if you could
copy them back-to-back.
You make the call: if your
just work through this sheet
orally. And if your students
just hate handouts and regularly
shred them or turn them
into an entire paper air force,
all the questions on this sheet
could be done orally or discussed
in small groups. But if
you think they can focus, have
them work in pairs or trios to
fill in answers on this sheet.
If you work through the
questions out loud, you'll obviously debrief it as you
go. But if you have the kids work on their own,
make sure you pull them back together and debrief
their answers. Ask for a few responses to the questions
on the sheet. And ask-
What are some other cool things God
Get lots of answers.
What if God wasn't a dreamer? How
might our world be different?
Just let your students get creative here. Hopefully,
they'll come up with things like these: There might
only be one kind of animal-we'd just call it animal .
We might not be female and male-just people,
with some boring way of reproducing . The
earth might be brown and flat all over .
What dreams do you think God still has
for the world?
Don't just settle for quick churchy answers here-that
People would know him. Yes, that's true; but
Push kids farther. What are some of God's dreams
that are not fulfilled? Justice for the poor . A witness
for him in every people group . That we
would love and respect the earth he made for us .
Help kids think about the difference between
helpful and hurtful dreaming. This is a bit different
than just asking if a dream is good or bad.
Life isn't always that clear-cut. But we can help
kids think critically about whether their dreams
are encouraging, bring them hope, and line up
with God's desires, or whether they're selfish and
destructive. Explain that the Bible cautions us to
be careful what we spend our time thinking
about. So there's some dreaming that God loves,
and some that's hurtful to us, and not honoring to
Read the five case studies in this section. After
each one, discuss with your students whether the
main character's dreaming was helpful or hurtful.
I'm Martin, and I have this dream of
becoming an artist. I know it 's a long shot,
and that not too many people can actually
earn a living as a painter or an illustrator.
And I might not get to do it. Or I might be a
graphic designer or something like that,
which would still be cool.I 'd really love to
spend my life drawing and painting.
Is Martin's dream helpful or hurtful?
It's great. Whether he knows it or not, Martin's
desire is to use the abilities God has given him.
My name's Bethany, and I have this dream.
It's a little embarrassing, and I don't tell
very many people. I'd like to be a really popular
movie star. I'd love to have people
know who I am, and have my picture show
up all over the place.
Is Bethany's dream helpful or hurtful?
It's hurtful. Her dream is basically a selfish cry for
attention. You might want to ask this follow-up question:
How can two people both dream of going
into an acting career, and one dream be
helpful and the other one hurtful?
The answer revolves around motive. To dream of
acting because you love acting is a great thing. But
to dream of acting so you'll be popular or rich is a
My name is Shenika, and I dream about
having grandparents. All my grandparents
died before I was born. And most of my
friends have really cool grandparents. I feel
like I got ripped off.
Is Shenika's dream helpful or hurtful?
If she spends her time moping and feeling sorry for
herself, it could be hurtful. But if she's just dreaming
out of the longing of her heart, this can be a great
dream. Maybe God will provide someone who can
be like a grandparent for her.
I'm Alfonso, I dream all the time about having
tons of money. My family doesn't have
much money, and so that makes it even
worse. I dream of the cars I'd buy, the
house I'd live in, the clothes I'd wear, and
other stuff I'd own. Wow! That would just
be so great.
Is Alfonso's dream helpful or hurtful?
Hurtful. Dreaming of having enough to not be poor is
one thing, but focusing on money to have more and
more material things can be very hurtful to the dreamer.
Hello, my name is Bassam. My family
moved to the United States a couple years
ago. It's been pretty tough for me. I'm doing
fine in school and everything, but I can't
seem to make any friends. So, I guess that's
my dream: to have one or two friends.
Is Bassam's dream helpful or hurtful?
This is a good dream-God wants us to have friends.
Hopefully, after you've discussed these five
case studies, your students will have a loose mental
grasp of the difference between the kind of dreaming
that God loves and the kind of dreaming that
God doesn't like because it's hurtful to the dreamer.
And if your students have more than a loose mental
grasp of this idea, then, with awe and reverence,
we give you the Young Teen Teacher of the Year
Award! (Or you're just delusional!)
Pass out copies of Dream On! (page 16). Your
students should already have pens or pencils, if
you used them for the last exercise.
Of course, if they're anything
like the junior highers I work with,
half of those pencils now have
half of the
(and two boys have large
quantities of blue ink on their
hands). Oh well.
Ask your students to
work on their own for a few
minutes. Circulate around the room to make sure
your students understand what they're supposed
to be doing. No matter how many times you clarify
this, you'll probably still have a couple concrete
thinkers who write down a nightmare they
had last night as one of their dreams.
If your group has more than 10 students,
ideally you'd be able to divide them into groups
of about five-each with an adult leader-to
have kids share their answers. This would offer
a slightly safer atmosphere when they share
these rather personal dreams. If you have to
debrief in a large group format, make sure
you're very careful to affirm answers and don't
allow any teasing or snickering. Having your
dreams mocked can do life-long damage-seriously!
Make sure you close your time in prayer,
thanking God for honoring our dreams, and asking
him for guidance to line up our dreams with
Room decoration option
It's a great idea to create a large graphic symbol from each lesson for the wall of
your room. The symbols represent the pictures of God that the group looks at each
week. When you leave them as a collage on the wall over a period of weeks, they
serve as a memory device and reminder of where you've been.
For this lesson, consider making a large graphic of a cartoon thought-bubble. It
looks like a cloud-a scallop-edged oval-with two or three small ovals below it leading
to the character who's speaking. They're used in cartoons to represent someone's
God the Dreamer
Which of these things did God dream up?
a way to save you from hell!
Read Genesis 1. Make a list of the things God dreamed of, then made.
What difference does it make that God loves to dream-that he's a really
good dreamer who dreams of amazing, outrageous things?
Psalm 37:4-5 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of
your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this."
Rewrite that in your own words.
God wants you to be a dreamer! It's a reflection of him that you can dream. What
are three to five dreams that you have? (Remember, we're not talking about sleeping
dreams-we're talking about the hopes of your heart!)
What's the most radical thing you can imagine God using you to do anytime during
What's the most radical thing you can imagine God doing through you this year?
What's a radical thing you can imagine God doing through you this week?