Summary: Part 1 of Dream Maker series. Big Idea: We are all dysfuntion, but don’t get used to the status quo of dysfunctional world you are living in. God doesn’t. God will not content to leave you there; He has something better in mind. He has a dream for you.

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Part 1 of the Dream Maker Series

English Worship, Vietnamese Alliance Church at Midway City

June 5, 2005

Genesis 37:5 "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more."


We all had some sort of dysfunctional background.

When I was growing up my dad had some serious illness with his kidneys and as a result my mom and dad slept on separate beds. And I always thought that was normal for husband and wife not to sleep together when their children are grown. Until I mentioned about that as I was dating Jenney, she said that was strange, because her mom and dad was still sleeping together.

But then I noticed that Jenney’s family had their strangeness as well. In one of our first dates, Jenney was calling home to inform her mom that she won’t be home for dinner; she was screaming on the phone, "Má ðó hả? Tối nay tui không về ãn cõm ðâu nghe!"[i] To me that was strange, “Are you always talking like that to your mom?” And she replied, “Yeah, that’s how we talk in our family.”

Some of you would probably laugh out loud, “Come’ on, Bumble – you called that dysfunctional? At least your parents are not control-freaks. Mine are. They have always had these big ambitions for me. They tell me what my career should be, who my friends should be, what kind of car I should drive, and who I should date. It’s like they expect me to be perfect but don’t really believe I can blow my own nose. I feel like I’m suffocating, but if I get the least bit independent, they would try to control me with money…”

And I am sure someone else can trump them, “That’s nothing! My dad was an alcoholic and very abusive. I was always afraid to invite other kids over because I didn’t want them to see what my family was like. I never really got close to people, now I don’t seem to know how to let others get close. I really don’t know how to have a good relationship. Most of the time I feel pretty alone”[ii]

Well, well, well – before we turn the whole things into a dysfunctional-bragging-fest. We need to acknowledge that dysfunctions are everywhere, even one of Time magazine journalist wrote, “Family dysfunction is now taken for granted, so the pressing question is what to do about it, and the prevailing answer is: just get over it”[iii].

But can you just “get over it”? Consider the family situation of a teenager I shall call Jay. Jay’s dad was a drifter. His dad was a con man, constantly on the move. He had two wives, and both of them were sisters. He also had two mistresses on the side, and ton of children from these relationships. Jay’s dad didn’t care much about the family[iv]. When Jay was 11 years old, his sister was raped in a town corner. His dad did nothing about it. So his older brothers plotted the revenge and killed a bunch of guys from that neighborhood and robbed them too[v]. That was the deal with the outside. On the inside the family was pretty messed up too. Jay’s real mom died when he was a kid. His dad’s getting old and his older brothers got worse with all sorts of troubles. The oldest brother even had an affair with his dad’s mistress. And the dad still did nothing about it. What a mess. And that was the dysfunctional background of Joseph in our text this week, Genesis 37.

Our text for today read that "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more." (v.5) What was going on here? [Briefly retelling the story]

[Let’s pray...]

The Word of God speaks into our dysfunctional world today. He won’t say: just get over it, but He says: I know where you are in, and I will get you out of it, if you follow me!

Our story started (in v.2) when Joseph was seventeen-years-old, he was tending sheep with his older brothers, the sons of Jacob’s two concubines. He was already found himself in the middle of a dysfunctional family as I told you from the info of the previous chapters. Often, we don’t create our own dysfunctions, we just found ourselves in the middle of it.

But where our dysfunctions came from anyway?

In v.3 we can see some aspects of where Joseph’s dysfunctional background: favoritism and hatred.

i) His dad Jacob (aka Israel) clearly shows favoritism in the family. Joseph got a special coat, a tux from Nordstrom while the rest of the brothers got their jacket from Goodwill. Where this dysfunction came from? Favoritism was what Jacob grew up with. Remember his mom Rebecca loved Jacob, while his dad Isaac loved his brother Esau; and they were at war with each other fighting over whose favorite kid was supposed to get the inheritance?[vi]

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