Sermons

Summary: The fourth of a four-sermon series on the Biblical response to uncertain times.

Looking for more sermon ideas from Andy Stanley? Visit www.andystanleysermons.org.

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Scripture: Genesis 37-47

Idea: The proper response to uncertainty is to accept it as from him, look for his hand, and live as men and women who are confident that God is with us.

Introduction

Please turn to Genesis 37....

1. If you are one who really wants to follow God, it is more difficult to follow when circumstances point to the fact that he isn’t interested in being followed. He seems to be waving you off. And he’s not intending to reward your efforts.

2. Uncertainty leaves us confused as to how to approach God.

* He’s so quiet.

* He’s so still.

* He seems so distant.

3. I want to end my prayers with, "So what do you think? What are you going to do? You heard my opinion, what’s yours?"

* You ask God to change the heart of your child and-no answer.

* You ask God for a better work situation . . . and . . .

* You don’t want to spend the rest of your life single . . .

* You don’t want to spend the rest of your life with your spouse-unless he/she changes . . .

4. The Bible makes it look simple. God kept appearing to say, "Hang in there."

5. When things aren’t great, it’s tempting to think he is not interested in the details of my life.

6. This raises two questions: What is God up to when he is so quiet? What are we to do in the meantime?

7. We have said so far: Pray. Remember. Seek. Today, the most difficult and yet the most obvious. FOLLOW.

Why Follow? My Bible and my experience make one thing very clear . . .

I. God does his greatest, his most significant, and his deepening works individually and corporately during times of uncertainty.

A. Your favorite Bible stories, your favorite Psalms, and the most comforting passages of Scripture were birthed during times of uncertainty.

1. God was not absent during these transitional times. He was more active than at any other time.

2. In each example, these men/women’s lives were interrupted . . . the familiar, predictable things were wrenched away. The structure of their lives disintegrated. There was no doubt a sense of panic. It seemed like God had fallen asleep at the wheel-and in the middle of what felt like total chaos, he showed up in ways we are still marveling about.

You read and watch their faithfulness and wonder-what if they had abandoned God? Think of what they would have missed. God was at work and they would have never known.

B. From God’s perspective, uncertain times are opportunities to do something in us.

1. He can do more in us during times of uncertainty than he could ever do in the normal 9 to 5, everything-the-way-it-ought-to-be times. Why?

2. All of us are idolaters at heart. We each have a natural propensity to lean on and trust in the things we create or are created by someone else.

* Our job tenures, our businesses, our finances, our 401Ks, other investments, our network of friends and associates, our families, and our good health.

* All of these things represent STRUCTURE, familiarity, and order.

* Nothing wrong with that. It is the image of God in us that motivates us to create order from chaos.

* But they can become comfort zones that wean us away from

dependency on the Father.

So, when God comes along and shakes our structures or allows them to be shaken, we panic. And in our states of panic . . .

3. But when our structures are shaken, when we move through transitions, he has our undivided attention.

* When God has our undivided attention, we are positioned to grow like crazy.

* Suddenly, what’s real, what’s important becomes the focus of our attention.

* It is then, when he is all we have, that we discover he is all we need.

C. From God’s perspective, uncertainty creates opportunities to do something through us as well.

For God to accomplish something great in and through us, we must respond correctly to times of uncertainty. I want us to look at the story of a boy who got it right-a favored son who became a slave-a slave who became an inmate-an inmate who became a prime minister. And throughout 13 years of uncertainty, remained faithful...

II. The Story of Joseph...

[Review, emphasizing, "The Lord was with Joseph..."]

A. He was faithful as a slave.

1. Far from home.

2. God didn’t seem to care.

3. Verse 9 ". . . and sin against God."

The God who abandoned you to your brothers? That God?

His reward? Framed for rape.

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