Dream Big

Genesis 37

Things look pretty bleak for Joseph. His life, not to mention his fantastic dreams, are in jeopardy. What will become of them? What will become of him?

What are we to make of these fantastic dreams, these earthy and celestial dreams? It sure appears that Joseph is destined for greatness, but the path there is by no means clear. And where is God? His presence is not mentioned in this episode, He has no apparent direct involvement in Joseph’s life. At least not on the surface. But if we dig a little deeper, if we pull back the curtain, we can see God’s fingerprints all over this story, His sovereignty at work in the events of Joseph’s life…right place at right time over and over again. In Shechem at the right time to meet the right guy who happened to be in the right place not only to intercept Joseph, but also was in the right place at the right time to hear where the brothers were going. Even Joseph’s arrival in Dothan is at the right time for Judah to see the trading caravan heading to Egypt (which as we will see will be the right place). The caravan reaches Egypt at the right time so that Joseph is sold to the right guy (Potiphar) who is in the right place. Coincidence? Not at all.

Joseph will have many opportunities along the way to give up or to make unwise choices. But God will work through the mess of Joseph’s life…and ours, taking us through the eye of the storm to demonstrate the wonder of His grace in our lives. He had work to do in Joseph’s life…brash, overconfident, self-centered…to prepare him to deliver his family. And He’s got work to do in ours. The moment when our faith becomes real…when our dreams are seemingly dashed (death of loved one, don’t make the team, injuries), and we have to totally rely on God, trusting that He is working even in that circumstance to bring about His purpose. See the dreams are His. Joseph’s dreams weren’t about Joseph’s greatness, not about him getting the glory. Joseph’s dreams were a part of the grand dream that God has for His creation. Joseph is a part, just as his brothers were even though they didn’t have the same dream or the same role as Joseph, they are no less important. Some of us may be like Joseph, and God may have a very visible role for us to play. But we are not all Josephs. Our part is not a less than. God created each one of us uniquely…different gifts, talents, abilities, calling, dreams.

It’s easy to let the circumstances of our lives determine our sense of nearness or far-ness from God. At the bottom of a well, or on the way to Egypt in shackles, God may seem light years away. But the truth is our circumstances do not determine God’s presence. He is with us. Our job is to stay the course. If God has laid a dream or a vision for ministry on your heart, if you feel Him calling you in some pursuit (and as a believer He has a calling on your life), realize that He will likely take you through a journey of preparation for that calling. And it may not be easy or fun. Depending on the character development that He needs to do in you. I’ve seen that many times in my own life. The road never seems to be downhill or the time short…feels like a long and winding uphill trek, but looking back His fingerprints have always been visible.

So dream big. Trust God in the process. And remember that character matters.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

In the Image of God

A reminder from Genesis…

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule … over all the earth’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1.26-27

Who am I? Where do I come from? Why am I here? Great thinkers have wrestled with these questions for millennia. How I answer those questions will determine how I live my life, my worldview, how I interact with others.

If I accept what the culture says about the meaning of life, then I’m just 1 of 7 billion+ other human beings on planet earth evolved from goo over the span of billions of years. I am the product of time and chance. Life has no meaning beyond the here and now, so the best I can hope for is to eat, drink and enjoy, do what feels good, regardless of the consequences. After all, there’s no such thing as God or divine law or eternal consequences. Other human beings are tools to be used for my pleasure or to further my ends, or they are obstacles to be squashed.

But if I accept what the Bible says about the meaning of life, then I’m of infinite value because I bear God’s image. I have an incredible destiny and have tremendous potential because I have been made in His likeness to reflect Him to His creation (what it means to “rule”). As an image-bearer, I am loved with an unfathomable, incomprehensible love by Creator God. It means also that others have infinite value as fellow image-bearers, and that I’m to love them as such.

When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, their rebellion, their sin, as we see in Genesis 3, marred the image…it didn’t erase it. It separated us from Creator God, resulting in our death and put our destiny and potential in serious jeopardy. And if not for this amazing God, our story would end in despair. We would never reach our potential and could never fulfill our destiny. We would be forever separated from our Creator. But He wasn’t done yet. Even in the midst of our rebellion, He made a promise and provided a way that we could be rescued and our relationship with Him could be restored, our destiny and potential realized…through faith in the Head-crushing Seed of the woman, the Redeemer of Genesis 3.15, who we know as Jesus.

As a pastor, I see so many folks who have believed the lie that their lives have no purpose. That’s why drugs and pornography and prostitution and abuse and all manner of other awful things that we do to ourselves and others are so rampant. Those caught up in these things fail to see their own worth and refuse to acknowledge another’s. It’s the predictable consequence of accepting the philosophy that says “You’re an accident.”

What you believe matters. You were made in the image of God.

Pastor Matt