Monday, June 27, 2011

Now What: God Is Up to Something! He’s Making My Dreams Come True

Sermon Notes
Wednesday, June 15 2011

Sermon: Now What: God Is Up to Something! He’s Making My Dreams Come True
Sermon Text: Genesis 45: 4-11; 50:20 (NKJV)

And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.” “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” “For these two year the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.” “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry.” “You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have.” “There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.”

Point 1: Your Dreams Will Come True (Gen 42: 6, 43: 26, 28; 44:14)
Joseph said that his brothers would bow down to him. It took a while but his dreams did come true.

Give your dream over to God and he will organize it in perfect timing. The best thing you can do is trust him in the midst of your situation. It’s your choice: you way or God’s way. The only thing that comes between you and your dreams coming true is time. Time separates you from the reality of your dreams. It’s not “if” the opportunity comes, but “when”.

Point 2: Name Your Delay (Gen: 41: 51, 52)
Joseph names his sons which show that he was branding his delay by name. This shows us that his plight was not far from his mind. From this we can see two things: Joseph was saying “I forgot who hurt me” and “I’m fruitful in my struggles.” This is what he names his delays.

God has the power to help you to forget the cause of the problem. A delay is the opportunity to become fruitful. Nothing grows without struggle. If you’re calling your delay a disaster you’re labeling it wrong. When you mislabel your situation, you cause God to stop. We’re always calling our situation “its over.” Be careful how you label your delay: if you’re going through a divorce, you can say “God is going to send me a new man/woman”…if you’re sick, you can say “God is in the process of healing me”….if you’re broke, you can say “my financial blessing is on the way.”

Point 3: God Is Putting the Details In Your Future (Gen: 45:7,8)
God was trying to get Joseph in a position to save thousands of people.

You will never be able to figure out all the details but just let him handle it and know that he’s up to something. Your dreams must be connected to God’s agenda. You can say to your enemies “you thought you were doing something to me, but God is so mighty that he turned it around for my good.” God has to put you in certain situations so he can position you to speak life into someone else’s situation. When you’re comfortable, you start trusting yourself and not God. Its only when he puts you into certain situations that you can be used for his glory. God is always two steps ahead of us.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So Now What? Part 2

June 11 & 12, 2011

Sermon Title: So Now What? Pt. 2
Sermon Text: Gen 40:1-8

4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
Life is not always fair. It doesn't give you a warning when something is about to happen. Everyone has dreams. No matter how small or large your dreams may be, there is always someone or something waiting to disrupt your dream. In order for your dream to become reality you must go through some things.

Point 1: Remember your journey is a journey. Stop asking “are we there yet?” (Gen 40: 14-15)
14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.

Despite your best laid plans, life happens. You got into a fight with circumstances. Something forcibly took over: employment, drugs, relationships, etc. Life is a journey, not a destination. If you look at a map, there aren’t many roads that are straight. Most have several twists and turns just like life.
Remember:
1. Get better NOT bitter. Know that what you’re going through is here to grow you and make you better.
2. Turn your pressure into passion.
3. Turn the manure into maturity. Manure grows the best plants. Allow your current situation to grow you.
4. Time is not eternity. Know that your problems have an expiration date.
5. Reflection is for projection. You cannot change the past. Reflect on it but project yourself into the future.

Point 2: Revelation without interpretation is stupefaction (Gen 40: 8, 16, 22)
8 “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” 16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.

Because the prisoners did not understand their dreams they were stupefied. Just because you have a dream from God doesn’t mean you know what to do with it. You can interpret the events of life in several ways; however, it is important to interpret them correctly. If they are not interpreted correctly, God will have to repeat himself.
How to get an interpretation:
1. Go to God.
2. Go to the word.
3. Go to the man of God (Jeremiah 3:15).
4. Go to your knees-PRAY.
5. Go to a quiet place.

Point 3: Restoration is just around the corner. (Gen 40: 14, 23; 41: 39-40)
14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

Do not depend on man; depend on God to restore you. Just as Joseph was restored, you too will be restored. God will restore what the enemy has taken from you.
While waiting for restoration:
1. Hone your skills.
2. Do not harbor grudges.
3. Keep your head up.
4. Remain hopeful.
5. Remain helpful.

Conception in a Closed Womb: Pt. 4 Highly Favored

June 1, 2011

Sermon Title: Conception in a Closed Womb: Pt. 4 Highly Favored
Sermon Text: Luke 1:26-33

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”


Context: How can you have favor in a closed situation? We must understand that we are uniquely equipped to handle particular situations. Once we realize this we can begin to operate in the favor and fullness of God.

Point 1: Mary was set apart (verses 41-44)
Mary does not realize that she is favored until certain things start happening. Mary was a temple girl; her parents set her apart. We should realize that sometimes when things happen it is because God is setting us apart to be used for His purpose.
1. Don’t follow the crowd: Do not believe that the crowd always knows best. Sometimes you will end up somewhere you do not want to be.
2. Dare to be different: When you stand up and go against the crowd to do what you believe is right, you show God your faith.
3. Deliver yourself to God: Give yourself to God just the way you are. We cannot fix ourselves and we should stop trying.

Point 2: Mary received a word from God (verse 28)
There will be times when God addresses our concerns with a word that brings more concern.
1. Hold on to God in the storm:. Many times we want God to speak but when He does we don’t get the word we want. When this happens, hold on to what God is saying. Hold on to Him. This word will reinforce that we are favored.
2. Have faith He will bring you out. No matter how hard the word is that God brings know that it comes to bless you and must mature inside of you. Believe in the word of God.
3. Give Him your life if you aren’t saved.

Point 3: Mary was a virgin (verse 27)
God needs to get us in a place or situation that we have never been in before. This will cause us to truly rely on Him. This is a favored place. God wants to favor us, open up doors for us, and mold us while we are in that virgin place. When you squeeze the petals of a rose the fragrance and essence of that rose becomes more apparent. The same goes for us. The more He squeezes us, the more we become who we are supposed to be.

So Now What: What do you do when your dreams turn into nightmares?

Sermon Notes June 4-5,2011
Sermon Text: Gen.37: 18- 27
Sermon Title: So Now What: What do you do when your dreams turn into nightmares?

18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.


Introduction:
Life is not always fair. It doesn't give you a warning when something is about to happen. Everyone has dreams. No matter how small or large your dreams may be, there is always someone or something waiting to disrupt your dream. In order for your dream to become reality you must go through some things. We see this with Joseph. The very thing that fueled him burned others. Instead of cheering him, his brothers devised a plan. In verse, 20 of the text, Joseph's brothers make a statement that is echoed by all mankind. Now what? When things don't go as we have planned and our dreams don't seem to be coming to reality, we too must answer that same question. Joseph did several things that can help us. First, he followed his dream. Secondly, he walked in the confidence that God was with him. Lastly, he worked like he knew God was going to work it out.

Point 1: Follow your dreams
Follow your dreams no matter where they take you, be it the pit, the palace, or the prison. Joseph had no idea where his dreams would take him. He had no idea they would get him into so much trouble. He was simply doing what came natural to him. After all he was only dreaming. Following your dreams may not be easy. We should always have a plan but realize that things may not go as planned. Proverbs 19:21 tells us that there will be dips and curves. Our dreams may not always have a direct route to reality. Dreams are much like rivers. Very seldom do
they run a straight course. Sometimes they even run through granite. You have to be dream drive. Despite her many advances, Joseph was not interested in sleeping with Potipher's wife. It would have distracted him from his dream. Don't be willing to have a rendezvous with the
flesh. Flesh is not just sexual. It's how you would do things your way. Instead of doing things God's way you want to take things into your own hands.

Point 2: Walk in confidence that God is with you
Joseph was successful because he knew that God was with him. With this knowledge he could operate without fear and do things greatly. When you realize that God is with you, give Him the credit. As you point people to him, He will give you more. Everyone can't handle this. They forget to do as instructed in Deuteronomy 8:18 (But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today).

Point 3: Work on your dreams like you know that God is going to work things out.
Whenever he was Joseph was in charge. People saw favor on his life. Joseph worked as he was working for God and not the warden. When you work, know that you are working on your dreams! Your job is the root to your plans of your destiny.

When life throws you a curve and you have to answer the question of now what, remember to follow your dreams. Know that God is with you and its going to work out.

Finish What We Started: Fan or Followers

Sermon Notes for May 28-29, 2011
Sermon Title: Finish What We Started: Fan or Followers
Sermon Text: Luke 14: 25-35

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. 34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Introduction:
Jesus is on his way to Calvary. In this passage of text, Luke is very particular in his recollection of Jesus' words. The large crowd that is traveling with them raises an issue for Jesus. He needs to know who is a fan and who is a follower. There is a difference. This is the same in our lives. When we are trying to get things done and do the will of God, we also need to know who's a fan and who's a follower.

Point 1: Tower of Power (vs 28-30)
There is a cost associated with being a follower. Jesus dies not shy away from talking about the cost. Jesus knows this is a way to find out who is really with him. He uses something that he knows they are familiar with to illustrate His point. In bible days, people build towers in the vineyard. The towers allowed them to watch for wild animals and thieves. They understand that they need the tower to
prevent generations from going hungry. Fans will want a seat in the tower but will be unwilling to help build. When you get the cost estimates upfront you will be able to tell who is a fan verses who’s a follower. Salvation is free but discipleship cost. You can be saved but are you ready to carry the cross.

Point 2: Culture Warriors vs 31-32
In this text everything refers to giving up the right it ownership. Jesus is alluding to the war that Herod Antopest went into. Everyone knows that he shouldn't have gone into war. He incorrectly estimated
the cost of he had verses what he was coming up against. He did not know who was a fan, and it cost him the war. He had to make peace with his enemy. We are in culture war. One that says having a baby out of wedlock is ok, you don't need a man, couples should live together instead of getting married, and that being smart is white. Every war has cost. There has to be some sacrifice to win. If you lose, you still have to pay the price for winning. You also have to make peace with your enemy. This will cause you to have to enter into an unholy covenant.


Point 3: Salty Soldiers vs 34-35
Salt preserves, seasons, clean, and is mixed with manure. When it’s mixed, it’s good for the manure but does nothing for the salt. Manure is one that you can't change the taste of. Be careful who you mix
with. Fans will mix with anyone because they don't know their worth. Followers can go to war and change the culture, because they know their worth. The word salary comes from the word salt. Salt was used to pay people during the Bible days. When salt was no longer salty, it was thrown to the grown. This is where we get the saying good for nothing. Followers understand that what they have does not belong to them. Their loyalty belongs to God. God needs builders, warriors, and salty soldiers. He is not interested in quantity of people but the quality of people.

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