Your Spiritual Bucket List

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Before your life ends, what do you want to accomplish? While physical goals are fine is there a bigger aim to pursue?


Do you remember what it was like to dream as a child? To imagine yourself a doctor, a nurse, a cowboy or fireman? What happened to those dreams? It's not too late to recapture the wonder that dreams can inspire. Join us on Beyond Today as we help you create something that can change your life–a list of dreams­-your very own spiritual bucket list.

The Bucket List is a recent Hollywood movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It is a story about two men, both with terminal cancer. They meet in the hospital room they share while being treated. The Freeman character, faced with his own mortality, begins writing a list of things he would like to do and places he'd like to see before he "kicks the bucket." The Nicholson character sees the list and provides the money and means for the two men to start accomplishing the goals. The story progresses as the men realize their ambitions and cross the items off their list.

But along the way something happens in the story that elevates the plot to more than two men jetting around the world and seeing the grand sites. The two men help each other overcome the barriers that life and circumstance have a way of creating.

A Dream List

The idea of a "bucket list" is nothing new. It can be called a list of goals or dreams to achieve with your life.

I first heard about such a list of lifetime goals while I was a college student in the early 1970s. Once a year the college would bring in an explorer named John Goddard to lecture and show us a film about one of his daring world adventures.

When John Goddard was a young man of 15, he wrote out a list of 127 adventures and accomplishments he wanted to do. He wanted to travel the Nile , read all the classics, study native medicine and bring back useful ones. He spent his life doing what he wrote on that list.

From what I can discover, he accomplished most—if not all—the items on his list before dying of cancer. I had the opportunity to meet John Goddard when he was visiting our campus one day. He was a delightful man to be around.

But I did not pick up on the idea of creating my own list of adventures till several years went by. A good friend of mine gave a talk one day about the idea of having dreams and building a "dream list" of things to see and do in your life. My friend had read a book with that idea and was motivated to share the thought with his employees and friends. It was then that I caught on to the idea, and it has made a big difference in my life.

The idea is simple. What if you could do, have and become anything you could think of?

What would that be?

What would it include?

If you were assured of success and had unlimited time, talent, money, knowledge, confidence and support from your family, what would you like to do with your life?

Write those dreams down in a list. Then start out to make each one happen.

Dream Again

That's it.

It is really a very simple idea. It is a profound idea.

But why is this important? I think it is a vital key to making life work in a satisfying manner without any regrets. Dreaming lets us live a large life filled with meaning. It is a key to recapturing the imagination of childhood and attaching it to the realities of adult life.

It is also a key to helping us unlock the meaning of life as God intended.

When I was a child I did a lot of dreaming. I used to dream about being a cowboy or a soldier or a superhero. I would dress up in a costume and dream I was anything that caught my imagination. It may have been a movie or a television show I had seen that day. And for the next few days I would be that larger than life person or hero, that is, until I saw someone else I wanted to be.

But somewhere in my life I quit dreaming. I don't remember when or just how it happened. Maybe someone discouraged me and told me to "grow up and get real." Maybe it was just the pressure to conform to someone else's image of life. Maybe it was just the reality of everyday life, working and dealing with human nature, that caused my dreams to evaporate.

There is an ad line that says, "Life comes at you fast." It is true in many ways. But before it gets completely away from you, pick up your pen and paper and start dreaming again.

But write your dreams from a firm foundation in the Bible, the word of God. It is there you will find the answers to the meaning of your life. Once you discover that meaning you will have the key to unlock the understanding of the universe.

This idea of dreams and a bucket list is a way to begin thinking about a higher purpose for your life. Why were you born? What is the real purpose for your life? You can know and understand the answers to these critical questions.

This idea of dreams and a bucket list is a way to begin thinking about a higher purpose for your life. Why were you born? What is the real purpose for your life? You can know and understand the answers to these critical questions.

Understanding the meaning of your life–the purpose designed by God for all mankind is at the heart of life. It is the franchise question (the one indispensable question) of your life.

So request your FREE copy today! Call toll-free 1-triple-eight-886-8632. That's, 1-triple-eight-886-8632, or go online to This booklet will help you discover the real meaning of your life as revealed in your Bible.

Dreams in the Bible

You know, this idea of dreaming has a basis in the Bible. There we see examples of many dreams or visions where God would show His will or part of His plan to men.

Jacob had a dream of a ladder stretching into the heavens.

Kings and rulers had visions and dreams

One of the most stirring dreams was that of Joseph when he dreamed of his future role in saving his family.

Genesis 37 says, "Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers...'please hear this dream which I have dreamed'" (verses 5-6).

Joseph's dream was of his brothers and father bowing down and serving him. His decision to tell his brothers did not go over well. The hatred and envy generated by this revelation led in a roundabout way to the fulfillment of the dream.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and wound up in Egypt as a steward in the home of a man named Potiphar, a high government official. One intrigue led to another, and God gave Joseph the ability to understand dreams. This gift eventually landed him before Pharaoh, who himself had had a dream.

Pharaoh's dreams of fat corn devoured by lean corn and fat cows devoured by skinny cows had him and his counselors baffled. Joseph's interpretation told Pharaoh to expect seven years of plentiful harvest followed by seven years of severe famine. He told the leader of Egypt to find a man to prepare for what was to come.

Pharaoh saw the right man standing before him. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.' "Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck…So he set him over all the land of Egypt" (Genesis 41:39-43 Genesis 41:39-43 [39] And Pharaoh said to Joseph, For as much as God has showed you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are: [40] You shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than you. [41] And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt. [42] And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in clothing of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; [43] And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
American King James Version×

Dreams Frame a Life

At age 30 Joseph was in charge of a massive national "homeland security" program for Egypt! God had moved events to this end and Joseph's "dream" was about to come to pass. Years later, after preparing Egypt for the famine and his brothers coming down to buy grain, Joseph reveals himself in an emotional scene.

What is important to understand is Joseph's conclusion about all that had happened to him.

"I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life... So now it was not you who sent me here, but God" (Genesis 45:4-5 Genesis 45:4-5 [4] And Joseph said to his brothers, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. [5] Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
American King James Version×
, 8).

Throughout his odyssey Joseph was sustained by his faith in God. Perhaps the dream God gave him as a young man played a part in this. At some point Joseph put it all together and understood that his life had always been in the hands of God and all that had happened to him was of God's design.

Joseph had accepted the dream and yielded his life to God. The dream framed his life and became an overarching vision that sustained him and drove him forward.

We have a dream!

God has given us a dream, a vision, of His eternal Kingdom. It is the goal of our life and is what drives us forward, giving us purpose and meaning. Like Joseph's dream, it molds and shapes our life. Our own "dreams" have a way of shaping our life in large and meaningful ways.

Our overarching dream of the Kingdom of God defines a very large life. God's Word gives us definition and clarity on our quest for the Kingdom. This vision of the Kingdom should help us define a large and exciting life filled with accomplishment and meaning.

This life, should you choose, can be a preparation, a staging ground for a role in something far bigger than what we now see. God is right now preparing for a world to come that is beyond our biggest imagination. If we really believe that, we will effectively translate it into not only a life of faith but a life of physical accomplishment in preparation for the world to come.

Under this dream of God's kingdom we can build successful lives that fulfill all the different dreams we may have.

My Dream List

Though my list has a number of physical dreams they always point me to a higher goal.

Recently I traveled to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and accomplished something I have wanted to do for more than 11 years. Along with a group of friends, I entered the canyon from the North Rim and traversed the whole expanse, more than 24 miles, and came out on the South Rim two days later. My "rim to rim" experience was the fulfillment of a "dream," a long-held desire to do something big and important to me. It was a moment of satisfaction when I crossed this item off my "dream list"—mission accomplished!

Years ago I constructed a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life. I have been working on the list ever since. There are several big projects on the list, and having done this latest hike has motivated me to examine the list again with renewed energy.

How did I get this dream done?

First I wrote it down. I then collected information on the route and the specifics of how to get it done. Next, with a group of friends we set a date to do it and made reservations.

Then came the task of getting in shape to make the hike. It involved regular workouts to build stamina and endurance. This dream was not going to be done without being to good physical condition.

Finally, the day came to go down into the canyon and make the hike. Two days later it was done.

This one "dream" of mine, though entirely physical, helped me stay focused on living a life by a plan and not be accident. That is how we tie the physical to the spiritual.

You have to set your dream and then put in place the goals that will help you achieve the dream. Dreams by themselves won't happen unless you have goals. Goals are like bridges that link us to the dream.

You can't just dream in a vacuum. You have to put in the work.

What are your dreams? Become a doctor? An engineer? A computer programmer" To accomplish your dreams may require training or further education. Perhaps you need a mentor to help you learn a trade or craft.

Maybe it is getting a handle on your personal finances to achieve a dream of owning a home or property.

Write them down on your list!

The point is to set yourself a list of specific, achievable goals to help you along the path toward your dream. Write it down, plan it and it will happen.

What's next? There are a few big trips to places that hold an attraction to me on the list. God willing, I will see them in the coming years. But I have added some other dreams to my list that are not solely centered on my ambitions.

Time and events, perhaps a bit of maturity, have tempered my dreams. I now want to do something big and good for other people. I want to leave something behind that is more than a list of things with just a line drawn through them. Putting in place some large foundation stones that serve others for a long time is now at the top of my list.

Start Your Dream List

God has given us a very large "dream" of His coming Kingdom to replace the failed kingdoms and dreams of man. It is a dream of a world at peace, with everyone learning of His ways that lead to cooperation and stability. No more broken systems that lead to the cycles of human suffering and pain. It is a dream, a vision, that will come to pass. It is what frames a noble life of seeking the right goal.

My life has been framed by this dream of the Kingdom of God. It has guided every major decision of my life. It is the one dream that I pursue each day. Frankly, it is the reason I get out of bed each day!

If it is not yours–it can be. Christ told His disciples to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
). This is the one dream to put at the top of your personal "bucket list." Framing your life with the hope of the Kingdom of God will shape your life toward the one great purpose God has planned for you.

I am hard at work pursuing the dreams on my list. If you haven't taken the time to start your list, I encourage you to do it now. Write down on a piece of paper the dreams you want to accomplish in your life. Doing this is a forward-thinking approach that projects you into the future. It helps you break free of the limitations that you, or others, have put on yourself. Writing your dreams down in a list is a commitment. It helps you crystallize your thoughts and focus.

Take some time for yourself and create a list of things you want to see or do to create a broad and meaningful life. I guarantee it will be a life-changing exercise for you.

When we return we will see just how you can begin to realize the most important "dream" of your life. Stay with us.