Faith Forward Future: Moving Past Your Disappointments, Delays, and Destructive Thinking

Faith Forward Future: Moving Past Your Disappointments, Delays, and Destructive Thinking

by Chad Veach

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718038373
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 11/28/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 152,510
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Chad Veach is the pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, California. Chad and his wife, Julia, have two beautiful children, Georgia Estelle and Winston Charles.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

WHEN LIFE DOESN'T WORK OUT

My phone was screaming at me from the middle console of my car, shouting that it was time to pull the trigger and make "the call."

It was the reason I had driven out to the middle of nowhere. I had escaped the noise of friends, family, and my world. I had committed that I would finally do the thing I had been avoiding doing for months.

I would end the relationship with the girl I should've broken up with a long time ago.

It wasn't because she was a bad person or that she was ruining my life, but, quite simply, it was a relationship I knew I wasn't supposed to be in. From the very start, it had felt like I was pushing against the world and even God himself to make things work. I was ignoring the signs that popped up at every turn. My work was hurting, my vitality was zapped, my friendships were crumbling around me, and a booming voice was telling me to stop before things got worse.

The phone screamed at me again.

Even though it was silently sitting there. No phone calls coming in. No one waiting for me on the other line.

But I couldn't reach for it yet and dial those numbers. Because to end things meant to end my dream. It would mean the death of a future me, standing in a suit, looking on as she walked down the aisle in a white dress. The death of the future I had been set on from day one — the romance and the life I had drawn up for myself. I know what you're thinking. But you're married to Julia Veach! How could life get any better than that? Don't worry, people. I'm beyond grateful God's better plan prevailed in the end, but in that moment, I couldn't see it. And even the idea of letting go of this dream I could see felt incredibly painful.

It was this original, flawed dream that had helped me drown out those resounding alarm bells all along the way. I had been clinging to it like a toddler clings to a toy he's been told not to play with. When God clearly communicated his no, I either ignored him or tried to convince myself that he was telling me something else.

The phone shouted at me again.

This time, instead of recalling the dream, I recalled the nightmare. The nightmare my disobedience had led me to: the crumbling ministry, the disappointed family, the rejected friends. The plan I had laid out for myself had failed miserably.

So I finally picked up the phone and made the call. I listened to confused crying on the other end and tried to hide my own similar emotions. With one conversation, I broke two hearts.

That day I began to learn that sometimes you have to lay to rest your dream to give life to God's dream.

BROKEN DREAMS

I live in Los Angeles, a place that many have named the "City of Broken Dreams." Each year thousands of people move here, hoping to make it as a director, actor, musician, or reality TV star. Because the industry is highly competitive and there's only room for so many to be the next big thing, many fail at achieving their dreams.

With an estimated 254,000 men, women, and children sleeping on the streets each night and also twenty of the world's small number of billionaires in residence here, the city is a paradox. It's a picture of how society views both success and failure, achievement and heartbreak, arriving and losing. But this city is only a microcosm of the state of the world.

In a Social Forces study, researchers found that only 6 percent of people end up in the career they dreamed of as a child. Obviously, many conditions can cause you to veer from the path to becoming the firefighter or astronaut or ballerina you once thought you'd be, but this dismal number proves that many people's lives don't go the way they planned. Though often this is a good thing (thank God I didn't pursue that DJ career), our broken dreams can leave us feeling disappointed and affect the way we view our worth and potential.

The reality is that we don't always accomplish all that we set out to do. Our lives don't always turn out the way we hoped they would. We dream of a relationship with a certain person, a career path, or a perfect family. And when those dreams don't work out, like my own relationship didn't, we're left to wonder ...

Where do I go from here?

What do I dream of now?

Should I throw in the towel?

Because God gives us free will, we get to experience what it looks like to mess up and destroy our lives. And mess up our lives we often do.

While working as a youth pastor and dating long-distance, I refused to listen to the advice of others and even the voice of God about ending my relationship. I had my dream, and I was set on making it happen. Because of this, I was ignoring people I should have been more focused on, the youth ministry I was running was shrinking, and I started failing at what God had called me to do. I could barely look people in the eye.

Eventually, I came out on the other side of the heartbreak with an understanding of God's better plan. But my decisions delayed my destiny, and it took a while to truly move past the pain of the whole experience.

THE PRODIGAL DREAM

My story, like yours, is beautifully depicted in Jesus' parable about the prodigal son in Luke 15. It's the story of a father with a son who asked for his inheritance early. Though the father knew the request was a bad idea, he granted it, and, in return, the boy took the money and squandered it.

With his free will, the son pursued his dream. He chased after what Jesus described as "wild living" (v. 13). And, ultimately, he failed.

He failed hard.

The father in the story knew his son was headed for disaster. You want to test the waters out there? he probably thought. You want to go mess up your life? That's fine. I would love to protect you from all of that, but you made your choice.

Jesus said that, once the son's money ran out, "he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs." He went from living the dream to living in the pen with pigs and even "long[ing] to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating" (vv. 15–16).

It's while the son was filled with disappointment and coping with his failure that the story takes a turn. Jesus told us that when the son was in the pen he started to remember his father's house. He started to recall his father's servants and how even they had food to eat and a bed to sleep in. "So he got up and went to his father" (v. 20).

In his darkest moment, he remembered that things were better his father's way. He didn't know if his father would accept him back as a son, but he did leave that pen with a confidence that whatever his father had for him, it would be better than his current situation.

The story ends with the father, a picture of God and his perfect love for us, running to his son, throwing his arms around him, bringing him back into the family, and honoring him with a huge party. It's what Kanye West and I like to call the "God Dream."

And it's what God, your Father, is waiting to give you. Despite your brokenness, despite the failure of your own plan, God is still ready to take you into his future.

When you find yourself in the pen, or in the car making the phone call, remember how God views your broken dream. He looks at you and says, "Your most recent failure is only a minor setback for a major comeback."

Success often looks different from the way the world paints it. God's plan is so much more than career gain or financial security. When we fail to hit the targets we've set, we often beat ourselves up or fail to see the better future God has in store.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to finally make that phone call, but once I did, I started to realize the major comeback God had in mind for me. It was less than a year later that I went to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family as a single man who was starting to rebuild his life after his big blunder. At that dinner, I was reintroduced to a childhood friend who soon became my girlfriend and ultimately became my wife. She was definitely a God Dream.

In the end, the father's plan was better for his son, and God's plan was far better for me. I'm convinced it's better for you too.

CHAPTER 2

CALLING OUT GREATNESS

We all have that friend who always seems to be talking up something. I call this person "the hype man," and there's one in every group. You're probably thinking of yours right now. If you have a hard time pinpointing one, you probably are that person. Maybe you're the one constantly hyping a new restaurant, or a new band, or a hip coffee shop you recently tried. The hype man typically gets excited about anything new, and nothing is off-limits. I find it especially entertaining when hype men talk up new people they've only recently met, as if these new acquaintances were the next big thing.

"Oh my gosh! You have to meet Rick. Rick is so funny. You will die laughing when you meet him. He's, like, the funniest person I've ever met. Ever."

If you are not the hype man but you have a hype-man friend, you know the drill. Due to experience, you've probably created a little equation in your mind: whatever the hype man says, you always have to cut it in half.

"This new TV show will change your life!" You listen politely and then prepare to have your life only marginally changed, if at all. You calculate that the reality is you'll only mildly enjoy maybe an episode or two.

"Every song on the new album will make you cry!" You decide to prepare for a small emotional effect. You don't even bother grabbing a tissue before you listen to it. You know that you will likely discover the truth like you always have before, and your expectations will be crushed again.

The reality always seems to be that the TV show was all right, the album was forgettable, and Rick? Rick isn't actually that funny. Yes, maybe he sent a funny meme in a group text one time, but that doesn't make him a stand-up comedian. We can all send funny memes. It's not that impressive, Rick.

The other day my wife, Julia, was hyping up a restaurant to me. And this restaurant wasn't just any restaurant. Its specialty was Mediterranean food. And Mediterranean food isn't just any food. It's my absolute favorite. Give me some pita bread and some hummus, and I'll start a revival.

Julia knows this about me, and that I have extremely strong attachments to my favorite Mediterranean places, and yet she still sold this place to me as "the bessssssstttt Mediterranean food you will everrrrr eat!"

I would die when I tried it.

It would blow my mind.

I would never be the same again.

Her hype-man game was strong. And so, naturally, I nodded my head and said, "I can't wait, babe." But inside, I pulled out the ol' Hype Calculator and cut her assessment of this restaurant's deliciousness in half.

Later that day she went to the supposedly mind-blowing place and brought some food back to the house. This is because when I eat Mediterranean food, I like to do it in the privacy of my own home so I can savagely devour my pita bread and hummus with no strangers staring at me. I don't need you to watch me crush those kebabs, okay?

To my surprise, the food was as good as she had described it. I demolished it! My mind was indeed blown! My expectations were exceeded! I would truly never be the same again!

It's easy to be skeptical of hype. We don't want to believe the unbelievable, because our past experiences have proven that it's just that: unbelievable. So when someone tells us that we could have access to an even better life than the one we have imagined for ourselves, that we have the potential to walk out in amazing purpose, and that our future could be "above and beyond all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20 hcsb), it's natural to cut statements like these in half in our brains — even when they come from the Word of God.

Something inside of all of us hears these words and says, "Don't go playing with my heart." We remember the things we've tried and failed to accomplish in our lives. We recall the disappointment and say, "Never again." We fear that we could be part of some spiritual prank. Maybe God is just setting up some elaborate PUNK'd episode where we're the butt of the joke.

Does God really have something more for me? What if this promise of "above and beyond" isn't actually my destiny, and I find myself cruelly disappointed again? we wonder.

Because we live in a cynical world, where a hype man's words are met with eye rolls and mistrust, it's hard for us to imagine the possibilities and all that God has in store. But where cynicism says, "You can't," God says, "With me, you can."

HE DELIVERS

Let's talk about someone who encountered a person who delivered on all the hype. At the start of his story, this someone really had no idea what was possible for an average guy like him. I like to imagine that he, like most of us, started off life with a dream, some image of what his tomorrow might look like. But, in the end, God led him somewhere that exceeded all the expectations this man had for his future. When God came along, it didn't matter if he had achieved everything he set out to do, because there was something better in store for him.

His name was Simon.

You'll find him in the Bible, and he was a good little Jewish boy who always did as he was told, honored the Sabbath, didn't touch bacon, and fished for a living. This was his lot in life. I'm sure his dream looked a little something like this: fish, maybe start a family, have some kids, and then more fishing.

But then in walked possibility.

The story takes place in John 1, but before we ever see Simon and his encounter with this possibility, we meet a man named John, who sets the stage. Most people know him as "John the Baptist." Not because he was a fiery preacher from the South, but because he liked to baptize people in Jesus' name. He was baptizing people before Jesus even walked onto the scene. God gave him the job of preparing the way for Jesus' ministry.

In John 1:35–36, we see him doing just that. The passage says, "The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, 'Look, the Lamb of God!' "

John was so over-the-moon excited to meet Jesus that he shouted out to him. This enthusiasm was obviously contagious, because the story continues this way:

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"

They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?"

"Come," he replied, "and you will see."

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. (vv. 37–39)

Incidentally, Andrew, Simon's brother, was one of these two disciples, and after he spent the day with Jesus, he rushed to tell his brother and brought him to meet this Lamb of God.

At last, we've arrived at Simon's big moment — the moment when, despite his own goals or the dreams he may have failed at achieving, possibility opens up for him. This was the start of his journey with Jesus. The story continues with Jesus looking at Simon and saying, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (v. 42).

In their very first encounter, Jesus started speaking destiny and future over him. To understand what Jesus was laying out, let's examine this word Cephas. It's Aramaic, meaning "rock," also translated "Peter" in Greek. Why was this significant? Much later in the story, after Simon declared Jesus as the long-awaited Savior of the world, Jesus used this word again. He pronounced, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18).

God already knew what he had in store for Simon. Even though this initial encounter recorded in John 1 was just the beginning of their relationship, Jesus knew the end of the story. Because he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, he wanted to begin the process of revealing his plan for Peter's life right from the start. Though Jesus didn't explain it to him fully at that moment — and I'm sure Simon was a bit confused — Jesus knew what Simon's tomorrow held.

And he knows what your tomorrow holds too. If you learn to listen, you may discover he has a name change specifically for you. How amazing would that be? But to hear it, you have to first be listening. Ask yourself, "Am I too distracted by the sounds of failure to hear the beautiful future God is speaking over me?"

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Faith Forward Future"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Chad Charles Veach.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Dream: What should we be chasing?

Chapter 1 When Life Doesn't Work Out 3

Chapter 2 Calling Out Greatness 9

5 Takeaways 25

Part 2 The Qualified: Who gets to live the dream?

Chapter 3 Debunking the Myth 29

Chapter 4 "I Want Your Heart, Not Your Perfection" 41

Chapter 5 Make No Mistake 55

5 Takeaways 71

Part 3 The Faith: How do you walk in this plan?

Chapter 6 First Things First 77

Chapter 7 Asking for a Friend 85

Chapter 8 Step Out 99

Chapter 9 You Move, I Move 113

Chapter 10 It's All About the Follow 127

5 Takeaways 141

Part 4 The Journey: Where do you turn in the middle?

Chapter 11 The Mess in the Middle 147

Chapter 12 Don't Judge My Journey 167

5 Takeaways 181

Part 5 The Reason: What's this plan all about?

Chapter 13 Always Only Jesus 187

5 Takeaways 201

Acknowledgments 205

Notes 207

About the Author 209

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Faith Forward Future: Moving Past Your Disappointments, Delays, and Destructive Thinking 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible! No matter where you're at in life, God has a word for you in this book! Chad is such a great writer, and beautifully presents the proof that God has always known you, cared for you, and is waiting to give you His better dream for your life! Faith, Forward, Future!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just what I needed..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a blessing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We're living life BIG! Having fun, helping people in need and growing along the way! So many people are plagued with a bad attitude or negative thinking or troubled circumstances. Life isn't meant to be lived like that! But it starts with your approach. It's so easy to live life trapped by things, but the best is truly yet to come. Life gets better! This book is broken down in 5 parts: The Dream, The Qualified, The Faith, The Journey, The Reason. Wisdom. Guidance. Hope. - It's all in there. This is an honest and genuine approach to life, work and relationships with people. Chad is hilarious and compelling. Whether you buy this for yourself or for a friend, it will be enjoyed!!