Summary: Reaffirming God’s presence and power in our lives
Good news and bad news…
Bad news… comfort can kill you.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley did an experiment some time ago that involved introducing an amoeba into a perfectly stress-free environment: ideal temperature, optimal concentration of moisture, constant food supply. The amoeba had an environment to which it had to make no adjustment whatsoever.
So you would guess this was one happy little amoeba. Whatever it is that gives amoebas ulcers and high blood pressure was gone. Yet, oddly enough, it died. Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation, and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us.
- (Study source: Chris Peterson, "Optimism and By-pass Surgery," in Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control [New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993]) Citation: John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat (Zondervan Publishing House, 2001), p. 47+
Good news…. God has allowed enough challenges in life to help you.
Last week we celebrated the most significant event in human history… the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the ultimate power of God… and sets into place our eternal destiny. That eternal destiny transformed life for the first who chose to follow Jesus… and has for millions ever since.
But those timeless events didn’t just light up the end of life… but the whole of life’s road.
Jesus… John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
> When you see the risen Christ… you will see the reality of trouble in relationship to triumph.
Paul… Philip. 3:10
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..”
> Paul is saying, ‘I see something worth everything… I want to know the whole of what it involves… triumph and challenge alike.’
None of us enjoy all the challenges that can come into our lives ….
- Mike was studying for a test one evening. He was very quiet for a long time. So
naturally his parents became curious. When they checked on him, they overheard this
prayer: "Now I lay me down to rest, And hope to pass tomorrow’s test. If I should die before I wake, that’s one less test I have to take."
- One day Linus and Charlie Brown are walking along and chatting with one another. Linus says "I don’t like to face problems head on. I think the best way to solve problems is to avoid them. In fact, this is a distinct philosophy of mine. No problem is so big or so complicated that it can’t be run away from!"+
We all face challenges… may relate to our relationships… resources… or our health.
> Good news is that God knows… He has the last word.
- Series: Facing Life’s Challenges… God’s Way
Begin with one of the most remarkable and revealing lives in history… the life of Joseph… one of the great Patriachs in history.
So remarkable is his life that thousands of years later Broadway and Disney have had huge success in retelling the story in theater and movie productions …proving how timeless and telling this life is.
> But of course God isn’t interested in the success of sales … but of lives.. our lives.
Joseph – A picture of the faithful journey to success.
· Raised up in father’s eyes…dreams to fit…Cast away by family jealousy (Gen. 37)
· Rises under Potiphar (39:1-6)…Framed when loyal (39: 7-20)
· Rises under warden (39:20-23)…Forgotten when helping (Gen. 40)… 2 years go by
· Rises under Pharaoh (Gen. 41)
Dream inspired by God of what his life was to be… of the road ahead… only to face the sharpest and strangest of turns.
Each of us are likely to find and face life’s challenges on different levels. We spend the first 20 to 25 years developing certain dreams… a certain vision for what our lives may become… and invariably we face some unexpected challenges along the way…. Dreams for marriage go unfulfilled…. The company closes… the doctor says “cancer.”
How can we succeed “When Our Dream Roads Take Strange Turns?”
Joseph reveals the wisdom to…
1. Reaffirm God’s presence … by not presuming God’s intents.
What’s one of the most common responses to challenging times?
> We assume God is far away.
One of the most common responses I’ve seen in our human hearts… is an unspoken… even unconscious idea that God has forsaken us. It may not be something we say to others… or even ourselves out loud… but we can begin to assume God isn’t really on our side…. Or at least He’s not very involved with us.