Joseph Series: More Than a Dream

The word dream can have a different meaning to different people.

“I have a dream” by Martin Luther King was vastly different than my waking up moments this morning.

I woke up feeling like I had been on a movie set of scripts and roles all night. It was delightfully exhausting. Idea after idea rolled out scene after scene unfolded, but I don’t remember a single one now that I’m awake.

For Joseph’s dream to leave the script of an idea and join the real world, many players many physical realities had to be moved and altered. That meant time; that meant energy; that meant processing for everyone involved. It had to go from what is now to what will be. That meant things had to change, and change is very problematic for the routine.

You probably don’t like change any more than I do, but I want my dreams fulfilled. Not the pleasant dreams I can’t remember from last night, but the ones that are shaping my life and ‘firing my jets.’ The dreams of change, distinction, meaning and significance, those dreams that if uttered might bring risk, challenge, and embarrassment because how dare I? How dare you?

What dreams are making room for you? What secret space of incredible is waiting for you and your “more than all we ask or imagine?” “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

 

Remember, change takes time.

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Joseph Series: Breakthrough

“Get changed! Get shaved. The king wants to see you now!”
You waited and waited, and then you waited some more, now things are moving so fast you hardly know you are involved.
This was Joseph’s breakthrough moment, well; this was the moment when all things changed.
Joseph’s breakthrough moment happened earlier. I wasn’t there, neither were you. Joseph in the privacy of his privacy had his wrestle with God and with no one else. He wrestled with the same God that changed his dad and the way he walked. How do we know? Joseph held his values. They came out his mouth every time there was an opportunity. It used to be he had a dream and was going to be… Now, God is the interpreter of dreams.
There still was a common thread, dreams. Joseph never gave up on his dream. I’m sure that the dream became very refined, but Joseph knew that God had given it, and he knew that God would now interpret it. He just didn’t know when.
Finally, we get to see the breakthrough.
The king’s dream must have been very compelling and convincing. He moved the entire responsibility of the Egyptian economy into Joseph’s care before a single crisis ensued.
We now read the story within a fifteen to twenty minute sitting and if we are not careful will miss the magnitude of what God did in, to, and for Joseph. We will miss what God did in, to, and for Pharaoh. We will miss what God did in, to, and for Jacob. Oh yes and remember those boys? We might miss what God did in, to, and for them.

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Joseph Series: Think Outside The …

The circumstances you find yourself in

The pain that is in your heart

The broken relationship that you can’t fix

The disease that will not quit

The home that has been broken and shattered

 

The great plans you have for your year

The retirement that for which you can hardly wait

The new House

The new Car

The new Job

 

The new sweetheart you have on the side

The plans of discarding all that is right and true

The one night stand

Think

Think outside the box that you find yourself in.

Joseph had to. He had to look for more than childhood dreams. They just weren’t working out how he had envisioned them. The prison box that he was held captive in did not house the dream that was in his heart.

All he had left were hopes and dreams, and you know? They were probably too small.

What box, what pressure cooker are you living in? Perhaps, the very thing creating all the pressure is forming you, for the better, the best.

Think.

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Joseph Series: Dressed for Success

Joseph was robbed of his identity as the favoured son; they stole his coat to show it.

Joseph refused to be identified as a traitor and an adulterer; he abandoned his cloak to prove it.

Joseph became the ruler of the land; the garments of royalty declared it.

It took thirteen years and three coats for Joseph to discover his identity.

It would be easy for someone in his sandals to lose heart, to be forced to accept the overwhelming circumstances, to be compelled to give up, but the clothes of authority that he needed to wear demanded success; the leader that he was called to be required no less.

Identity is no easy assignment; it seems to bring with it the very struggle that could derail it. Joseph could have quit, and we would never have known. Conversely we also never would be taking courage from this story of the Amazing.

God was at work in Joseph’s life; growing up he saw his dad struggle with God, and he must have learned it well.

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.” (Acts 7:9-10, NIV)

We are instructed in the scriptures that God does not show favouritism. That means that what he does for one he will do for others. That means:

God is at work in your life!

He calls you son, and he calls you daughter he identifies you as his.

What clothes do you need to put on?

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Personal Care

So, I read a story today about a guy when he was young, who, almost cavalierly, asked God to fill his life with the power of the Holy Spirit. He accounts that God immediately answered and he felt God’s power. His life went on to be amazing. The events of his life took a positive graph position, up and to the right, and, looking at his life today, that appears to be exactly what happened.

That is not what happened to me. Oh, when I was young, I felt God amazingly fill me, but my life went anywhere but up and to the right. This reading today was an emotional GPS moment of truth versus feelings for me.

I would like to be able to tell the story of success and accomplishment, according to my version of those things, according to the way that story I read today worked, but that is not my story. Rather my story is one of a very Blue Collar, slug it out, and figure it out type of life. The two books I have written, Blue Collar Theology and Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl, tell some of these accounts.

My point?

Does God show favouritism? Do some get the “Blessed or Easy Way,” while others of us get to clean up the mess? Sometimes it seems so. But, it is not so!

God carefully, amazingly, intimately, and personally cares for you. He is working a plan that supports and includes you, even if it isn’t immediately obvious.

He wants to connect with you in such an incredible and purposeful way. All you need to do is what I did: Acknowledge him in all your ways, (this includes your emotions at the moment) Proverbs 3:5&6, and choose truth over feelings.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

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The Upside is Fantastic!

Reality Check.

God? Who needs him?

Measuring against God is risky business. I would rather measure myself against someone else. (Previous two blogs.)

The problem? If I accept God, I have to take his standard and be subject to his rules and authority. This immediately puts me at a deficit of magnanimous proportions. If I am standing on my own accomplishments and pride, I need to find another way, any other way out of such a standard. In all reality, that is the issue. Unmasked, unpopular, and undone pretty much sum up the feelings connected with such vulnerability, so why would I engage in such a journey?

Why would I go through such a feeling of smallness and weakness?

Rather, I want something that affirms my prowess. I want someone who affirms me and lifts me up. I want my personal graph to move up and to the right. I don’t want to talk about an accurate reading, and accurate emotional GPS especially when it includes words like; deficit, deficient, shortfall, need, help, or weakness.

So, why? The upside is fantastic!

The provision that God makes for those who fall short (of his standard, not ours) is unbelievably generous. He has known all along that we do not measure up. We cannot. He has just been waiting for us to realize and recognize it. Nothing in our life changes, nothing can be appropriated, nothing will genuinely transform until we do.

It is that simple. Recognize our need and receive un-proportional grace (God’s own enablement) to help.

Hello God, my name is Phil, I am so bent on doing my own thing, my own way on my own terms. I need help.

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Christian = ?

I know that I live in a day and age where I am judged by the word “Christian”, but the problem with “Christian” is that there is no singular definition that suffices.
Is it “Christian” by my standard or yours, because they are probably not the same?

“Christian” has taken so many meanings from so many corners of the world for so many different eras. For some, “Christian” gets its definition from the Crusades. For others, it is the standard by which my wife wears her hair. And, I agree with you those two are not even close to being on the same playing field, but that is how diverse and how polar the word “Christian” has become. It has taken on its definition from the actions or lack thereof of those who are supposed to be learners of Jesus.

So, you can have “Christian” I don’t want it. I don’t want to have my life governed by a sliding scale of judgment, innuendo or manipulation. You can try and put the term on me, but I’ve decided not to wear it.

I’ve decided that I would rather get lost in the identity of Jesus. I want to live, love and look like him. Oh, he had his accusers. He had those who wanted him silenced. They were more interested in their name, their pedigree, and their protocol. The accuser’s religious pride could not handle someone who just did not care about his religious appearance or his family name.

Yes, I’ve decided that I want my life to be on a trajectory of Christ. If I can stay on that trajectory, then my life will have meaning. I’ll agree with you again; I’m still a long way off, but that is where I am heading.

By the way, I love the way my wife does her hair.

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