After the fireworks and the orchestra fade, the words of the American Dream, “… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” wash over you again.

You hear those words. You believe it. You work hard. You sacrifice. You day-dream. One day it will all be worth it. You will have life, freedom, and happiness. Right?… Are you sure?

Photo Courtesy of Bryan O'Toole (cc)

Photo Courtesy of Bryan O’Toole (cc)

Deep down inside you know… The accumulation of stuff never brings meaning to life. The never-ending rat race does not bring freedom. The pursuit of happiness is fleeting. You can never be sure if you will be treated fairly or equally. In other words, the American Dream is broken!

About 5 years ago, I was driving back from the University of North Texas.  I couldn’t shake what I had just experienced. There was a line of college students waiting to chat and pray with me after my talk.  Many told stories with tears, others with difficult questions, and still others merely wanting a “big brother”.

I was overwhelmed.

Something clicked that night. 

I had a dream that was deeper than the American Dream. It was a Kingdom Dream. Yeah, I loved the engineering world but I decided that empowering world changers was my Kingdom Dream. Therefore, I made my declaration of dependence! I resigned from the engineering job and went to work on the college campus with InterVarsity/USA.

I’ve learned many things along the way — here are 5 lessons from this journey of dependence.

Lesson #1:  Count your blessings

Don’t focus on counting dollars. Count blessings.

There are so many things in this world that don’t have a price tag. They are priceless. Watching my daughter praying at church. Laughing with my wife. Making a difference in the lives of college students. I challenge you to make a list today. Blessings are everywhere.

Lesson #2:  Invest in People

Don’t focus on investing in possessions. Invest in people.

Stuff never satisfies. When we enter into the Kingdom, you can’t take your stuff, but you can take people! Give your time and energy to people around you. Invite friends into your home. Make time in your calendar for your loved ones. Yeah, life is full, but not too full for good people.

Photo Courtesy of Roy Varughese (c)

Photo Courtesy of Roy Varughese (c)

Lesson #3:  Give Away Resources

Don’t hoard your resources. Give it away.

Most people are spending or saving money. But what if your money could accomplish more than that? Consider clicking on one the charity organizations on the right of this page. Change the life of a small child. Get people out of sex slavery. Let the money in your account be used for Kingdom purposes.

Lesson #4:  Live for Eternity

Don’t live for now. Live for eternity.

Change your perspective. Do things that will change the lives of generations to come. Start projects that will renew the world. Speak words that encourage people to press toward a greater goal. Believe that there is a good ending — that there is going to be a wedding on the other shore. Live life like you believe that.

Lesson #5:  Leave Behind a Legacy

Don’t simply leave behind inheritance. Leave behind legacy!

Sure, a massive amount of money would be great for my grandkids. But I hope they receive something greater than that from me. I hope they remember a man that lived for others. I hope they have stories to tell of God’s faithfulness in my life. Legacy will have more impact on their lives than luxury.

There is a song by Nicole Nordeman entitled, “Legacy” that encapsulates what I want to say.

I want to leave a legacy 
How will they remember me? 
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough 
To make a mark on things? 
I want to leave an offering 
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically 
And leave that kind of legacy

Declare your dependence today as you go to work, to your classroom, to your campus, and into your neighborhood. Speak truth in love. Live a life that makes a difference. Leave behind a legacy. You can be an everyday world changer. Start today!

What would you like to add to this list? What do you think about true freedom? What “Kingdom Dreams” do you want to pursue?