Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Resilient People - 3

Resilient People - 3
Subject - Joseph Teaches Us to Deal with Our Rockies 
by Rick Welborne

Genesis 45:1‑9 (NLT) 
1 Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 
2 Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. 
3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 
4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 
5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 
6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 
7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 
8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. 
9 “Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 

--Lewis and Clark thought they were at a place of great victory and almost the completion of their expedition just to find out they were faced with the Rocky Mountains. How do we face adversity in times like that?

1. Purpose in our lives.

Frankl: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the sufferings that it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross gives him ample opportunity to add a deeper meaning to his life.

–Adam Szymusik found that those who were taken into the prison camps who had no strong convictions did not do well...those who felt like they were suffering for a political or religious cause had greater resilience.

–Studies done of the notes left by those who have committed suicide rarely mention health, finances, or rejection but did mention “tired of life” and they were looking for a way purpose or meaning in their lives.

–Joseph was able to find purpose and meaning even in prison...even looking at the Rockies...The Lord was with Joseph.

–God shows up on the mountain (transfiguration) but He also shows up in the storm and when we find something bigger than we are.

Genesis 39:21‑23 (NLT) 
21 But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 
22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 

23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. 

–What could your purpose be in a prison when you were not supposed be there anyway? He had a couple of cell mates...a baker and a butler who needed him.

–One day after these guys had troubling dreams Joseph asked them this question...

Genesis 40:6‑7 (NLT) 
6 When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. 
7 “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them. 

–This is such a great detail of the story...why?  Joseph could have hidden in a corner and pouted about how God was treating him and not see others are hurting too!

–You can get to the point that you believe your problems are the only problems in the world and forget the pain of those around you.  

--This is when your heart starts to die because you have lost the meaning and purpose God has put you where you are.

–Joseph decides to live like Jesus and be concerned about the pain of others and treat them as having value to himself and to God. By his noticing their hurt he finds meaning for his being in prison.

–Do you just suppose that Joseph (Mr. Robe and Mr. Dreamer) needed to face the Rockies so that he would not think only about himself but have compassion on others.

–Do you think maybe (just maybe) our adversity may be God’s way of teaching us to have compassion on others?  We need to walk a mile or two in their shoes to learn to love.

–Not an accident that Joseph was a slave and in prison before God exalted him.

A. As long as he was wearing the Robe, Joseph could never move into community with his brothers.

B. As long as he was wearing the Robe, Joseph would never know what he was capable of under pressure.

C. As long as he was wearing the Robe, Joseph would never understand that God is enough even when you have lost everything.

–Whether Joseph’s adversity was sent by God or just because we live in a fallen world he learned what life was like without the robe.

–When he was home he never seemed to learn how hurtful him wearing the robe and sharing his highfalutin dreams was to his brothers. In prison, he noticed. His suffering gave him eyes of helped him find his purpose.

 2. Our actions must show forth our compassion. 

– How compassionate are your actions? In the middle of your storm or while you are facing the Rockies how well do you read the faces of those around you?

–We must learn that most people wear on their faces what is going on inside of them unless they have learned to “turn it on or turn it off” to keep their image.

–Do you really look at the faces of your family, your friends, your co-workers or even people who serve you and notice their faces are downcast?

Ortberg: It is a paradox: Self-preoccupation is actually self-defeating and produces loneliness.

–Joseph expressed his heart to his fellow prisoners in a single question: Why are your faces downcast today?

–Someone noticed them...someone cared about their lives. Words are powerful! Every word you speak boost someone’s hope a bit, or kills it just a little.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) 
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. 

–Here’s a little test: When you are facing the Rockies in your life or a storm, how often have you expressed genuine concern to others when you have nothing to gain?

–Because Joseph asked and because he cared he not only offered them help himself but shared with them that God could help...Do not interpretations belong to God!

–The butler gets good news but the baker...not so much.

–The butler agrees to speak in behalf of Joseph and I am sure he was so elated that his freedom was in sight...I can go home and see dad.

–Can you imagine the wait...first day anticipation...maybe tomorrow...maybe the butler is just waiting for the right time...days turn to weeks and weeks to months...still he sits there.

–It becomes clear that the butler has forgotten or just was so elated to be out that all he can think about is his own life...forgot to be compassionate for two years.

–Two years was the time that it took Lewis and Clark to cross our continent, and as Joseph sat alone, I wonder if he thought this was the end of his story?

–Of course you and I know that this was not the end of his story but at this moment he had no way of knowing except for his dreams...were they really from God?

–As God was helping him to learn compassion from the things he was suffering eventually it would be revealed to him God’s ultimate plan...His dreams.

Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV) 
8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 
–After his being reunited with his brothers listen to what he tells them about all that happened:

Genesis 45:3-5 (NLT) 
3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 
4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 

5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 

–All of Joseph’s best days, his rise in Egypt, his service to a nation, his impact as a leader, his reunion with his father, his reconciliation with his brothers, all lay on the other side of the Rockies.  

3. Being resilient is being like Jesus.

–The reason for that is because his story became part of God’s story. Joseph reminds us of another young man who was a dreamer and His life seemed to be not good at all.

--Notice how these two stories parallel each other…Biblical typology.  

Philippians 2:1-11 (NKJV)
1  Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
2  fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

–He, too, wore a robe, a scarlet robe given to Him in mockery, and He too found His robe taken from Him by those who wanted to kill Him.

–Crowds mocked Him, friends abandoned Him, Peter denied Him, Judas betrayed Him, soldiers crucified Him, and His body was laid in a tomb.

–One more dreamer - One more young man whose life turned out to be a disappointment. Until one day...on the third day He woke up...ultimate resiliency!

–One third day...bad news lost for all time!

–Ever since that third day, whatever bad news may enter your life has no power to separate you from God...for the story of this world is a good news bad news story.

Romans 8:37‑39 (NIV) 
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

 –Just wait until you reach the other side of the Rockies.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

I Can’t Stay Here – 7

I Can’t Stay Here – 7
Subject – Three Keys to Spiritual Passion
by Rick Welborne
1 Chronicles 11:15-19 (NKJV)
15  Now three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the army of the Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim.
16  David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
17  And David said with longing, "Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!"
18  So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD.
19  And he said, "Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it." Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.
--We see at this time in David’s life that it recalls, as usual, he found himself in hostile conditions…forced to flee into the desert or wilderness just to survive.
--The enemy were the ruthless Philistines who were a hostile tribe on the southern border of Israel. They were strong and were, at this moment, victorious against David’s people. At this time, they held Bethlehem.
--Certain men had drifted into the hills to join David, a guerrilla army of friends and mighty men willing to show their bravery and loyalty to him. They were mighty men and they were devoted. 
--We can pretty much assume that David was at a time where he was tired of running, tired of living in caves, and tired of being at war. 
--In a quiet moment David spoke out from his heart…"Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!" 
--It was clearly not a command that he gave; not even a call for volunteers…merely a wish. It is worthy to note that just a wish from the king’s lips was powerful.
--His loyal mighty men of valor wanted to deliver this water as a gift to their king as soon as possible with no thought of their own peril. They loved their king. What a lesson for us.
--Children, adults, and even my oldest son have been thrilled by these three unnamed men who set out to fight their way through the Philistines, get the water David was wishing for, and then, fight their way back.
--David was so moved by their courage and their act of kindness that he could not drink the water. This was another one of those stories I could not understand as a new believer. 
--He poured it out as a drink offering before the Lord.
Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee - Notice how David's men responded when he merely expressed a wish -- he would never have given such a command. Yet our Lord has commanded us to take the Water of Life to the whole world. And what have we done with it? Are you obeying His orders?
--Notice what David did with the water that was brought to him at such tremendous risk. David was unselfish -- no wonder his men loved him. They were willing to suffer for him because he was willing to suffer with them. 
--He wouldn't take that drink because his men didn't have water, and he chose to take his place with them.
--Psalm 22:14 tells us that when the Lord Jesus died on the cross He said, "I am poured out like water...." He poured His life out like water on the ground. 
--He took His place down here as one of us -- "...unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." (Isa. 9:6). He took our hell that we might share His heaven.
Gordon MacDonald – So moved was David by this action that he could not drink the water but wisely poured it out on the ground as a drink offering to the Lord. He knew devotion when he saw it, and he appreciated the fact that no human being was worthy of the intense devotion these three men had given to him. The water had to be re-designated as a gift to David’s God. A good decision.
--As we look at these three mighty men of valor we see how they had established a pattern of performance that most describes a man or woman whose spiritual passion is clear and forceful. 
--The remainder of this message I want us to look at three powerful truths that put the Christian life in perspective. In these mighty men are simple but powerful truths.
--Their action symbolized the way a man or woman with spiritual passion lives.
1. Staying close to the King makes it possible to hear His wishes. 
--The fact is that David’s wish was most likely uttered quietly, informally. You had to be close and in his presence to hear his wish. 
--Use your imagination with me and ask yourself where were the other soldiers who were fighting with and for David. Doing good things…watching, sharpening their swords, maybe cooking, checking supplies.
--All these things were good and necessary but the best place to be at that particular moment was in the presence of their commander and chief where not only commands could be heard but also a few wishes.
--To be in the presence of the Commander (Jesus) is to be in a safe place; and to be able to hear His wishes demand a still time when listening is the most important thing. 
Psalm 46:10-11 (NKJV)
10  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
11  The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 
--That’s intimacy, and it generates passion, a desire to hear and to please. No hearing, no intimacy, no passion.
--With my imagination still running, I can see those three sitting close to the king listening to every word anxious to know how they can, in fact, please him. 
--They have learned how to do pro-active listening where they are intently trying to hear the wishes of the one to whom they have devoted themselves to totally.
--I have noticed these people in 42 years of ministry. All I have to do is think about something or wish out loud for something and these people are on it. So many I could name.
--Hear me…only in still and quiet places will one hear the wishes of Jesus or Holy Spirit or actually anyone else in your life. God’s wished are not shouted…often they are hidden behind His commands. 
--Any of us can, if we choose to, hear the commandments of God but it takes a sensitive ear to hear the wishes of God, and that comes as we have said, by being close to Him. 
MacDonald - The intimacy of the commander’s presence (of God’s presence) is something that is sought by relatively few people. In a world that offers too many experiences of easily achieved, and therefore cheapened intimacy, not many people are willing to pay the price demanded to gain the presence of God. 
--Sir Francis Bacon made this observation. The incessant, and unwillingness to rest, pursuit of fame and fortune leaves out any time for devotion to God that He deserves. 
--I have gained great assistance in the development of my own spiritual life as I have thought about the God Who wants us to not only hear His commands but to hear His wishes. 
--His commands in the Word are there for all to read and see; but His wishes are only for those who set out each day to listen eagerly and carefully to His heart. It takes time and closeness.
--I am amazed how often His wishes are revealed in the intimacy of time with Him, in quiet moments, in the still times, and even in the times of tragedy, pain, and hopelessness. God is there for us.
--When our planners and road maps do not indicate the discipline of quiet place experiences, we forfeit the chances we would have to hear the wishes of God. 
--Sadly, we will have to depend upon what other people tell us about intimacy with God instead of experiencing it ourselves. Our neglect is a serious loss. 
--That is why I have learned, and continue to learn, that time cut out to spend intimate wonderful time in the presence of God is the most important activity of my daily activities. Neglect of this leads to weariness. 
2. The choice to act is often taken at great risk.
--Nowhere in this account of these mighty men do we hear that there was debate about going to get the king water. “Are you crazy” “Do you know where the well is?” “Get water for one person…nope!” I can’t stay here!
--The reason perhaps that the scriptures do not record such questions is probably because they did not happen. The indication is to show how devoted passionate men think and act.
--The wish of the general came through like a command to the devoted. These three went from listening mode to action mode because of their love for the king.
MacDonald – Convictions generated from a genuine encounter with the living God create the passion to act and the strength to carry out the action. What too often happens, I fear, is that modern Christians try to move on other people’s passion. We respond with genuine excitement, but it is a thin sort of passion easily dissipated or quickly supplanted by the next powerful message. 
--David’s men heard the wish from the lips of their commander. The man or woman who takes the time to hear God speak is apt to have the same reaction: instant motion. We see this with Moses.
Exodus 3:7-10 (NKJV)
7  And the LORD said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
8  So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
9  Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
10  Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."
--Moses heard God’s voice from the burning bush and realized God was on mission to deliver His people from Egypt. He went with God and maintained his spiritual passion by spending intimate time with Him.
--What these three mighty men did, what Moses did, what the Apostle Paul did…all did at great risk to themselves but because they had heard the heart and the wish of the Master…the risk was worth it.
Risk - spending your life making a difference that God’s dreams dared you to believe.
3. God’s divine power creates our ultimate passion.
--From Genesis to Revelations there has always been this wonderful, powerful, mysterious power planted into the hearts of men and women to enable them to accomplish God’s wishes.
--We know that divine power and energy to be Holy Spirit (The Third Person of the Godhead). In the Old Testament Holy Spirit would come on certain individuals to do the miraculous. 
--Adam and Eve were such a wonderful model to us of what life should be like communing with God every day, walking and talking with Him was normal life. Then they chose to sin…passion lost.
--They also show us how we can lose beautiful fellowship with Holy Spirit when we choose to do our own thing and go our own direction. How sad!
--Everything we have spoken about in this series…weariness, dryness, and lack of intimacy with God was exactly what the disciples were going through after Christ was crucified.
--But what a difference when they tarried (they waited) in God’s presence for the Promise of the Father…the promised Holy Spirit. Weak, tired, and fearful men became giants for God when Holy Spirit came. 
MacDonald – The chief purpose of Holy Spirit in our lives is to enlarge our capacity to join the task of Kingdom building: demonstrating in life and in word the splendor of the living Christ and His incredible power to rescue lost people and then turn them around to a higher life. Acts 1:8 “You shall receive power…” We have organized Him, strategized Him, and compartmentalized Him. We have reduced His ways of working with us to cute little formulas but it is clear that God longs to renew our spiritual passion.
--I believe Holy Spirit missing in our lives in His fullness is much of the problem with the modern church. We have our plans, programs, technology, and cleverness to get us through…we think.
--An underground Chinese pastor who was visiting American churches made this observation about us…It is amazing what you can accomplish without Holy Spirit in your services…He is all we have.
--I challenge you to be filled with Holy Spirit power every day…to be constantly inviting Him to be with you, to be in you, to empower you, to guide you, to teach you, to give you power to witness for Christ. 
--We have a choice…we can be intoxicated by the things of this world or we can drink of the Living Water (Holy Spirit) and never thirst again for all the other junk.
Ephesians 5:15-18 (NLT2)
15  So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
16  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
17  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
18  Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 

--I can’t stay here…I can’t stay where I am spiritually…I must be filled with Holy Spirit!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Resilient People - 2

Resilient People - 2
Subject - Joseph Teaches Us to Deal with Our Rockies 
by Rick Welborne

Genesis 37:18‑28 (NLT) 
18 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 
19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. 
20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” 
21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. 
22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father. 
23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. 
24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 
25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt. 
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? His blood would just give us a guilty conscience. 
27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 
28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt. 

–As we begin this message Joseph is captured by his brothers of whom he had gone to check on, they throw him in a pit, and eventually sell him into slavery.

–He is carried off into a foreign land, no money, no friends, no power, no home or daddy to take care of him...No beautiful robe…He is looking at the Rocky Mountains.

Ortberg: Your heart is revealed and your character is forged when life does not turn out the way you planned.

–Sooner or later we all see the may be in your marriage, your work, your ministry, your finances, or maybe in your health.

–It is in the act of facing the Rockies that you discover what lies inside you and decide what lies before you.
What important decisions do resilient people make when they face the Rockies.

1. Resilient people exercise control rather than passively resign.

–Something what surprises us about resilient people is how they exercise so much control in a stress filled situation.

–Many POWs or hostages share that the single most stressful aspect of their situation was that they had lost command over their existence.

–A study of those in Korean war camps found a group who had what they called “give up itis”...these were the ones who were least likely to survive and recover.

–Amazingly losing control of their daily lives was worse psychologically on them than threats, hunger, beatings, and isolation.

–In contrast, those who triumphed over adversity share a common trait...they managed to have a sense of command over their future.

Luke 18:1 (NLT) 
1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.  

–To take command some would exercise, they would memorize stories, figure out ways of communicating with one another, some kept a census of the bugs around them.

–Some used tapping to communicate or sweeping a broom a certain way...the POWs encouraged one another by reminding themselves and their friends that their bodies had been captured but their spirits had not, they prayed.

–Joseph was a prisoner...far from home, separated from his father, betrayed by his brothers, surrounded by strangers who bought him and sold him. The robe is gone and what it meant...his privileged life is gone but:

Genesis 39:2 (NKJV) 
2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 

–There is nothing more awesome or more important than knowing that when you are looking at the Rocky Mountains...The Lord is with you!

–Even though Joseph had lost his freedom he refused to look at himself as powerless...What have you lost that has made you feel out of control...The Lord is with you!

–You may have never thought of this but the Scriptures have many accounts of POWs and hostages who refused to be just victims. Daniel, Peter and the apostles arrested, Paul and Silas, the three Hebrew young men.

Ortberg: Faith believes that with God, we are never helpless victims.

–This is really amazing...Joseph began to serve his new master with all his heart:

Genesis 39:3‑6 (NLT) 
3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. 
4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. 
5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the LORD began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. 
6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat! Joseph was a very handsome and well‑built young man, 

2. Resilient people remain committed to their values when tempted to compromise.

–You are making the best of a bad situation...things are getting better...God is giving you favor with your master...God is with you! Potiphar’s wife is attracted to Joseph because he is well built and handsome.

–Most preachers when they tell this story make her out to be like a super model because it makes for a juicer story so because of her persistence and his loneliness we will assume that he was tempted but did not give in.

Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) 
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

–Joseph could have taken the attitude of a victim and could have given in but he did not! He tells her of his master’s trust...honoring relational commitment.  This is a classic case of resilient thinking.

–When John McCain’s biography came out in his presidential campaign of 2000 people were fascinated by the account of how he could have been released by Hanoi but refused unless his comrades were freed also.

–Loyalty to values even when it means suffering is a powerful catalyst for character formation...what values do you cling to? Look at how sin and temptation works:

Genesis 39:9‑10 (NIV) 
9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" 
10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.  

–Ok, Joseph, let’s don’t sleep together...let’s just be together...just hang out and talk, right! He still refuses and she becomes angry...

Genesis 39:11‑12 (NIV) 
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 
12 She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. 

–What is it with Joseph and garments? He ran to get away! Many think people are most tempted to sin when they are partying and having a good time but most of us are most vulnerable when we are sad or lonely.

Carl Jung: Sin is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. It is an attempt to obtain the pleasure that does not rightly belong to me or evade the pain that does. 

–Discouragement is the blue light that makes sin appear irresistible. All of us in one way or another know the temptation of Joseph...the temptation that comes when life does not turn out the way we expected...Rockies.

–If Joseph would have given in here he would have betrayed the one who trusted him, would have betrayed God, and would have probably never known his destiny. He ran!

–It is good that he is great to run from sin but sin can be very persistent so run to God.

–Joseph stands firm, he is loyal to his master, very honest with his seductress, and true to his values. Surely God will have to reward him...right?

–Mrs. Potiphar stands there with his cloak in her hand and then she does so much we hear today...she plays the “race card” before those in the house...this Hebrew who was brought here has done this.

–We think...this cannot be...this floozy cannot get away with this...Joseph is right and righteous...He must be rewarded...not yet...more mountains! God’s ways…not our ways.

–Potiphar goes on the war path and has Joseph thrown into prison and his wonderful wife goes home and waits for a more compliant servant.

–Keep in mind...the story is not over yet...Joseph goes to prison...bad things happen to good people....Key:

Genesis 39:20‑21 (NIV) 
20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 
21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 

–The Lord did not spare Joseph from prison...The Lord often does not spare his children from the Rockies or from adversity. But the Lord was with Joseph just like He is with you in your situation. 

–Joseph decided he would rather face life with the Lord and have nothing than face life without the Lord and have everything...what about us?

3. Resilient people find meaning and purpose in their mountains.

–Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning he shares how he discovered that the imprisoned person who no longer had a goal was unlikely to survive the Nazi death camps.

–He said that even though there were few...He could remember those who walked thru the camps encouraging others and giving them their last piece of bread.

Frankl: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the sufferings that it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross gives him ample opportunity to add a deeper meaning to his life.

–Joseph was able to find purpose and meaning even in prison...even looking at the Rockies...The Lord was with Joseph.

–God shows up on the mountain (transfiguration) but He also shows up in the storm and when we find something bigger than we are.

Genesis 39:21‑23 (NLT) 
21 But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 
22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 
23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. 

–What could your purpose be in a prison when you were not supposed be there anyway? He had a couple of cell mates...a baker and a butler who needed him. Look what adversity taught him about his beautiful robe. 

Scott Peck: It is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning...It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually welcome the pain of problems.
A. As long as he was wearing the Robe, Joseph could never move into community with his brothers.

B. As long as he was wearing the Robe, Joseph would never know what he was capable of under pressure.

C. As long as he was wearing the Robe, Joseph would never understand that God is enough even when you have lost everything.

Resilient People - 1

Resilient People - 1
Subject: Joseph Teaches Us to Face Our Rockies
by Rick Welborne

Genesis 37:1‑10 (NLT) 
1 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner. 
2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing. 
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. 
4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. 
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 
6 “Listen to this dream,” he said. 
7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” 
8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. 
9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” 
10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” 

–In his book Undaunted Courage Stephen Ambrose shares of Lewis and Clark’s expedition across America.

–For two years they battled hunger, fatigue, desertion, hostile enemies, severe illness, and death but finally reached the head waters of the Missouri River. 

–The information they had led them to believe that once they reached the continental divide, they would face about a half day trip and then reach the Columbia River.

–They were on their way to becoming heros or at least that is what they thought.  They assumed the hard part was behind them...smooth sailing after this.

–Lewis left the rest of the party to climb the bluffs that would enable him to see the other side hoping to see the waters that would carry them the rest of the way.

–Imagine how he felt, rather than seeing what he expected, he was the first non-Native American to lay eyes on the Rocky Mountains?

1. What do you do when you think your biggest problems are behind you, only to find out you have just been warming up?

–How do you rally the troops who are following you looking for good news?
–I can imagine Lewis turning to see some of the party coming to the top of the bluff wanted to see their wonderful victory.

–Hey guys, don’t come up yet...what will he say...I have just a little surprise for you.

–Have you ever thought you have finally defeated the giant (the sickness, the family crisis, the marriage problem, the financial issue) just to be faced with yet another giant.

–A few years ago...Economy goes south, people go south, family issues, church issues, H-plori, broken foot, melanoma on the back, chest, head,...the ear...really.

–Major problems with the giant defeated...smooth sailing and a time of peace and cartilage between the bones in your feet...ok!  

–What do you do when you think your biggest problems are behind you, only to find out you have just been warming up?  We will get to Joseph.

–Lewis and Clark would eventually see that crossing the Rockies would be the greatest accomplishment of the whole trip.

–This new revelation and new challenge would call forth from them creativity and perseverance that they never knew they had.

–They would create memories and see sights that would be spectacular...taking on the Rockies would build into them tremendous confidence because if you could take on the Rockies you could tackle anything.

–On this side of the Rockies, of course, they could not know any of this.  When they thought the trip was about to get easy they had to face their highest challenge.

–Hear your pastor, whether you have walked for God a short time or for many years...
Unexpected mountains can throw you for a loop.

–We launch into a great adventure, start a new job, take on a new ministry assignment, start a family...there seems to be so much promise and we are filled with so much hope.

–Then it happens, we endure some stuff and face challenges that stretch us to what we thought were our limits and there it is...not just the mountain but a whole range.

John Ortberg: Reality sets in.  We face the obstacles.  Unexpected conflict saps our spirit.  Plans go awry.  People we were counting on let us down.  The economy zigs when it should have zagged.  Just when we were hoping for easy portage and smooth sailing, we are looking at the Rocky Mountains.  What happens next?

2. This is where being resilient servants of God becomes our survival. 

–There is a field of study in social sciences known as resiliency...Researchers study people who have survived traumatic ordeals...when life did not turn out the way they had planned.

–Prisoners of war, hostages, those in consecration camps, victims of crippling accidents
were studied to see how they responded to their trauma. 

–These studies found that people responded in two ways: Many are simply defeated by such adversity and are defeated by their difficult situations...basically give up!

–Others are marked by resiliency, a condition whereby they actually enlarge their capacity to handle problems, and in the end, they not only survive but grow.  

–What makes the difference?  How do you endure when you face a mountain so big that it seems un-cross-able?  Why do the Rockies energize some people and defeat others?

–The researchers found:

–Resilient people continually seek to reassert some command and control over their destiny rather than seeing themselves as passive victims.

–Resilient people have a larger than usual capacity for what might be called moral courage–for refusing to betray their values.

–Resilient People find purpose and meaning in their suffering.

–We can add to this list as believers in Christ is that - Resilient people have a deep dependency on God. 

3. Let’s look at Joseph in the light of good news/bad news.

–It has always been fun to look at stories that were good news/bad news and actually back to good news before the story was over.

–Two friends agree that whoever dies first will get word back to the other one whether or not there is baseball in heaven...The good news is there is baseball in heaven.  The bad news is that you are pitching on Friday.

–Joseph’s life was definitely one of those good news/bad news stories.

–Joseph is daddy’s favorite...that’s good news...His brothers hate his guts...that is bad news!

–His daddy gives him a beautiful coat...that’s good news...his brothers rip it off, cover it with blood, pretend he’s dead, sell him into slavery in a distant land...that’s bad news.

–He get’s a great job with Potiphar, a wealthy not to bright boss who likes him. He empowers Joseph to run his house...he is handsome...things going well..that’s good news.

–Potiphar’s wife thinks he is handsome and tries to seduce him...that’s bad news.  Joseph resists the temptation...that’s good news!

–The wife is furious and lies about him and has him arrested...he ends up in prison...that is bad news.
–In prison Joseph meets Pharaoh’s butler, interprets his dream that predicts he will be paroled, arranges for the butler to get him released...this is good news.

–The butler forgets and Joseph languishes in prison...that’s bad news.

–As you read Joseph’s story you have to wonder how will it all end.  (Of course we know but he didn’t). What matters in a good news/ bad news story is how it all ends.

–If it ends with bad news, all the good news that went before was just a cruel farce that raises false hopes. If it ends with good news, the entire story gets redeemed. 

–All the bad news is seen in a new light...With Joseph, let’s go back to the beginning.

4. When you speak of Joseph it is almost impossible to not talk about his fancy coat and his dreams.

–Joseph wore the robe...the robe said he was the chosen one by his father...the golden boy

–Any of you ever feel that another sibling was the golden one in your family...the oldest!

–He never had to worry about whether daddy loved him or not...the robe declared it.

–When his brothers walked in the room their dad might ask how the flocks were doing but when Joseph walked in Jacob would light up.

–Parents may not think their kids can see it when they have a favorite but your kids can see it a mile away.  Comedian...we have two great kids and then this other kid!!!

–The robe definitely let the cat out of the bag...a long coat with sleeves...coat of many colors...a hand tailored coat from Nordstrom while yours came from Target.

–Price did not matter for this son...what made this so explosive was that in that day clothing was an expression of’s your face favoritism. 

–When Joseph wears the robe it makes him feel special but every time the brothers saw it made them die a little on the inside.

–The brothers can’t take it anymore...they tear the robe off of him and sell him into slavery...Joseph thinks this is bad but the Rockies are still ahead.

–Joseph’s dreams did not help his relationship with his siblings either...dreams in that day were considered to be prophetic...even though the author of Genesis never says they are from God.

–These dreams are about Joseph’s future and you would think he would have enough sense to keep quiet:

Proverbs 17:28 (NLT) 
28 Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. 
–Joseph does not keep silent...he gathers his brothers...who don’t have a special robe...
Who have been hurt deeply by their father...who hate him and tells his dream to them.

–There was a field of sheaves...mine stood up and yours bowed down to mine...I guess this means one day I will rule over you and you will bow and submit before me...let’s play

Genesis 37:8 (NKJV) 
8 And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.   

–Joseph must be a SH...he tells them another dream about the sun, moon, and stars bowing before him...

–It never dawns on him to keep quiet...all he can see is he is going to accomplish great things, he is going to be famous, he is going to make his father proud, he is wearing the robe and he is dreaming great dreams.

–What he does not know is that he is about to see a mountain range that looks a lot like the Rockies and life is not going to be easy!