Summary: Purity, Circumstances, Integrity
Genesis 39:1-23 September 15, 2013
I spent a lot of time in New Orleans and the gulf region after Katrina hit in 2005...Almost a dozen trips in 3 years...And then we partnered with Stadia and Team Expansion to plant a church in St. Bernard’s Parish...It’s called “The Gathering”...and for almost 3 years I served as an oversight Elder with Gary Johnson from Indian Creek Christian Church in Indianapolis and David Cortez from Christ’s Church of the Valley in Arizona...16 trips in 2 years to help keep the Gathering on track and develop leaders...
One of my favorite trips was one of the last...David Cortez and I ordained 3 men as elders and turned the reigns over to Matt Woodward, the Sr. Minister and these 3 spirit filled men...There are only 2 Christian churches in a city of 1.2 million people...Journey Christian and the Gathering...
After Katrina the U.S. government gave out 1.4 billion (with a B) in bogus assistance...FEMA was hoodwinked into paying for season football tickets, tropical vacations...federal investigators even found where a divorce lawyer was funded by tax payer dollars.
New Orleans was inundated with people who were out for a quick buck...
Among these folks were prison inmates who used a New Orleans cemetery as a home address...and a person who spent 70 days (70!!!) at a Hawaiian hotel on money provided by FEMA...(I’ve gotta sleep somewhere!!!)
Former congressman J.C. Watts said, “Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking. There are too many people who think that the right thing is to get by, and it’s only wrong if you get caught.”
I gave our Elders a list called “Rick’s Non-Titus & Timothy Essentials for Leadership.” They are inner core leadership essentials for integrity...No leader is perfect...but God’s leaders are seeking to be people of integrity...of this list of 13 things is: “People are more important then buildings and you will not be a respector of some people more than others. Godly principles apply no matter who they refer to.”
In other words...There is a right, there is a wrong...And it will be applied to everyone equally...
Joseph’s life began with an unhealthy favoritism...A cocky 17 year old strutting his stuff in a multicolored coat...He took some pleasure in informing his brothers about dreams of greatness...His greatness. His brothers despised him for it...They hated him enough most of them would have killed him. Only his older brothers Ruben & Judah would interfere and sell him into slavery instead...
Sold to a caravan of Ishmaelites (you remember Ishmael? Abraham’s wild son through Hager). They were coming from Gilead, loaded with stuff to sell in Egypt...Joseph became one of their possessions...to sell when they got to Egypt.
He’s purchased by Potiphar, who was Capt. of the Guard for Pharaoh...He is a man of power and influence...and Joseph comes into his house. We don’t know how long he’s there...but he serves so well he distinguishes himself...He stood out because of his skill and wisdom. Listen
Joseph could not change his circumstances, but he could choose what kind of man he would be in them...He chose a new path...He chose to be a man of integrity in these circumstances...
Here’s where the rubber hits the road in our Christian walk...”The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom 1:17)
It’s not what you are when people are watching...it’s what you are when they’re not.
Katrina has his Joseph’s life...but in the aftermath of the storm he chose integrity...what should we learn this morning?
I. THE GOD YOU SERVE MAKES YOU THE PERSON YOU ARE.
The blessings of God flowed into Potiphar’s house – not because of Potiphar, not because of Joseph...He trusted Joseph so much all he worried about was “what’s for dinner?”
The God we serve makes us the person we are...not who we say we serve, but the one we serve when no one is looking...
James Michener, writing in his book, The Source, tells the story of a man named Urbaal, who, was a farmer living about 2200 B.C. He worshiped two gods, one a god of death, the other a goddess of fertility.
One day, the temple priests tell Urbaal to bring his young son to the temple for sacrifice-if he wants good crops. Urbaal obeys, and on the appointed day drags his wife and boy to the scene of the boy’s “religious execution” by fire to the god of death.
After the sacrifice of Urbaal’s boy, and several others, the priests announce that one of the fathers will spend next week in the temple, with a new temple prostitute. Urbaal’s wife is stunned as she notices a desire written more intensely across his face than she had seen before, and she is overwhelmed to see him eagerly lunge forward when his name is called.