September 18, 2016
“Holding Onto Your Dream”
Pastor Kenny Lee
Holding onto your dream, how did I come up with something like that? It’s a very 21st century idea right? Holding onto your dream. I thought we had a lot of millennials in our midst so, what a great catchy title. Hold onto your dreams, we can all relate to that. I don’t want you to relate to that in the way you do relate to it. Yes, I gotta hold onto my dreams, “I’m four foot five and I want to be in the NBA, I’m want to hold onto my dreams.” No! Forget that dream. It’s okay you can forget that dream. I don’t want to dash your dreams, but it’s not going to happen. It’s like, “I want to be in the Olympics and be like Usain Bolt.” Not going to happen. “That’s my dream.” You can forget that dream. Just forget it. You don’t understand, I talk to people all the time. I remember talking to one young man, and he said, “Pastor Kenny I want to be a professional musician.” I’m like, “Oh professional musician?” “Yeah” “Oh well I heard you play guitar, piano, and things like that. And with a little bit more practice I could get to where you are. I don’t think music is for you man. I don’t know. I don’t want to dash your ideas or anything, but I don’t think so.” “Pastor Kenny I want to become a doctor.” “Well seeing you have a 1.3 GPA, I don’t really know if that kind of fits to where you’re going. You may. But I think you may want to forget that dream.” I’ll tell you how I got this title later.
Anyways we saw in the last chapter, the whole chapter of 39 was a story of success. But when we read these pages of Scripture, although the Bible says this is a success story we look at it and if were very objective and not putting our holy twist to it, no Lord this is more like a failure. This story is a failure. Lemme see, let me just recount what happened. Well I have a family and out of all the family members only one person loves me and that’s Daddy. Daddy’s the only person that loves me. Although that’s great, Dad’s the only person that loves me, but in my book that’s a fail. Dad only likes me and the other people in my family hates me so much they want to put me into slavery. Fail. And then you got a slave job; it’s like working as janitor. And he gets fired, not only fired he gets penalized at a low paying job, in fact that job pays nothing! But he got fired from that. Not only fired but he got put in jail! Fail. And he goes into jail, it’s really not his fault, the boss kind of wanted to sleep with him. There’s no sexual harassment case there because he’s a slave. But anyways, the wife calls all the male servants and says, “Hey you know what my husband did? My husband put a Hebrew to be in charge of you guys. That’s not fair is it?” They go, “No! No, we should have an Egyptian working here, not a Hebrew!” These are the issues that we dealing with now, you see that? “All these Hebrews are taking our jobs away!” Not really, if you think about it, Joseph is the only Hebrew there so mostly Egyptian servants. But anyways, so they get in on it and finally tell the same story when Potiphar comes in, “Yeah this guy that you brought was making advancements towards your wife! He tried to attack your wife! That’s awful.” So Potiphar is like, “Aw man, it’s hard to get good work these days. Especially at that cheap of a price: free. Aw man. But how dare this Hebrew touch my wife! I’m going to put him in jail, not any jail, the king’s jail.” And we all know if you saw a medieval movie, maybe King Henry VIII or Game of Thrones, in movies like that which jails are the worst? Are the provincial jails the worst or are the king’s jail worst? The king’s jail! It’s the worst! Why? Because the king is an important person, and since the kings an important person if you do something against the king: You’re going to die. You’re going to suffer. Off with your head! Off with your limbs! A story like William Wallace; William Wallace went against the king of England. What happened to him? His body parts are scattered all over Scotland. Or so they say. Anyways, a fail! A failure. But the Bible paints a very different picture doesn’t it? The Bible sees all of that as a success. And I’ll tell you what kind of success Joseph is and it’ll tie into all of this. There’s something things that Joseph changes, and there’s certain things that Joseph really just holds on to. And that’s the key to his success. You will note that Joseph was treated unfairly. Sometimes he was fairly treated, he was a snitch he was a young little brat, so smug walking around with that coat many colors. How dare a little punk do that! But he did that. Was he rightly despised? Yeah, if I had a little brother that acted that way, I would beat him up! I would really beat him up. Did Joseph deserve to get beat up? Yeah, he deserved to get beat up, he deserved to get beat up a little bit. He was a spoiled brat. Did he deserve death? No. Did he deserve to be sold into slavery? No. But he did, he was sold into slavery. You know after he got put into slavery, this woman kind of trapped him. Joseph didn’t want any part of Potiphar’s wife, but she saw that he was very young and very nice to look at in form and appearance. So she said, “Lie with me.” But Joseph said no because of God, and his friendship with Potiphar. He gets unfairly trapped, so he gets sent into jail. Because of all those things, he can easily grow bitter. At his brothers. At his family. He can grow bitter at the society he’s in. He’s in Egypt. “I hate Egypt.” He can grow bitter at a lot of things. But somehow he doesn’t. The person he can get bitter at the most is God. What’s a more cruel joke, than dangling a carrot and saying no. “Hey look, I can give you all this money! But nope. I can give you the whole world! But nah.” What kind of cruel joke is that? That’s the kind of joke I do to my dog. That’s the most cruel joke! And I do it to my dog! But I give it to him, so I’m not that cruel. All right maybe I am sometimes. If I did that to my dog a lot, he would hate me! He wouldn’t follow me around anymore, he would nip at me. He would always growl at me, he just would not like me. Us too! God dangles a carrot, “Hey you’re going to become great, you’re going to become king! Your brothers will bow down to you, in fact your mom and dad and the whole world! Stars will somehow bow down to you.” And then you get put in slavery. And then you get into a foreign land. And you get put in jail. Not any jail a king’s jail. God forget your dreams! I hate it. Forget your stupid dreams, in fact forget my brothers. You can’t trust anybody I’m going to trust myself! Because this is just awful. We don’t see that do we? There’s a consistency about Joseph.
There’s a consistency we see with Joseph. As we’re reading, when we meet Joseph for the first there’s a consistency. We see that wherever Joseph went he plays a particular role. Don’t you see that? With his father he was a second man, a right hand man to the dad. With Potiphar, he was in charge of the whole household. To the jail guard, he was the prisoner in charge of all prisoners. And we will soon see with pharaoh, he is the second in command of all the land. There’s a constancy about him! And why are people consistent? Why is joseph so consistent? Well let’s talk about consistency. When we think about consistency, I don’t know about you, but when I think about consistency it’s my mom and dad. There’s some people who’s like, “Nah, not my mom and dad. Not consistent at all.” But for me the example of consistency are my parents. We usually see older people as very consistent. Usually. And why is that? It’s because of their environment. They’re married they don’t have too many people coming in and out of their lives. It’s their family they have this pattern they come to work, ”Hey dear.” Kiss. “What’s for dinner?” Everything’s consistent! Because at their older age they lived a life that’s very consistent. Then the kids come, and kids are the example of inconsistency! They’re always changing. It freaks me out, my kids. When they’re infants, their heads are bobbing all over the place, you have to hold their head. But after a three months, you can let go of the head and they can move their head a little bit, and then after a year they can bounce up and down. And they’re constantly changing! They’re constant transforming. They go off to junior high school. They’re always changing, new friends, people are coming. Their environment’s always changing. They got new friends here, friends go there. Then they go to high school. And then you know, this person is going out with that person, that person is going out with this person. They get into cars, oh I’m a nerd, I’m a computer geek, I’m a jock, no now I want to be a geek, because geeks are cool. Then you get to college, and when you get to college: I wanna be this major, I wanna be that major. So a lot of times my wife would meet up with new people. This one person is Russian. “Oh you were a Russian major?” “Yeah for like one day.” “Yeah Japan! I was a Japanese major.” “Yeah for one day.” She was like all these majors, so she could talk to anyone, because she was that kind of major like all the time. “Oh you were CompSci?” “Yeah for like two weeks. That practically makes me Bill Gates.” Constantly changing. People are constantly changing. And often times we change with our environment. And we grow up in that way. We always change with our environment. And we see that Joseph is not like that. And that’s what I want to concentrate on. Joseph did he have a KCM? Did he have a KCF group? An Intervarsity, Campus Crusade for Christ? Egypt campus? No, nothing like that! He was the only guy that’s it! Where does he find the consistency? The one thing that you is that he goes from brothers that believe, not really, but anyways he gets put into slavery and he gets put into this place that’s polytheistic as can be. They believed everything and anything. They see a new ant going around, “Oh a new ant! It think I’ll worship you ant. I worship you little ant. Oh! I killed you! No forget it, let’s find another god.” It’s polytheistic as can be! And people are backstabbing, people are swindlers, it’s not a good environment. A place I will not take my child is a jail, because I don’t want them to be in that kind of environment. But yet we see not only is Joseph in Egypt, we find him in jail. And even there he’s not “institutionalized” but yet there’s something different about him. There’s a consistency about him. There’s a consistency.
But there’s also a change. And you know that Joseph should be changing. You know, if you were put in this mess, you’d change. You’d harden yourself. Why? Because I need to survive. I see those jail documentaries, “Yeah that’s my boyfriend over there. I need to survive y’know?” “I have a whole bunch of cigarettes. I have a whole bunch of ramen things because if someone messes with me, I have to give that out. And I have to do this. Why? I have to survive. I have to harden myself. I have to survive. I’m in jail, that’s what I have to do I have to survive.” I’m in Egypt I have to walk like an Egyptian I have to survive y’know. I’m in in this environment I have to survive y’know. And we see people like that. We see people that grew up in abusive homes. Grew up in not so nice climates. They had to defend themselves. They learned how to not talk. They learned how to talk in this way, and not in that way. We often see that in other countries. We see that in North Korea, like a lot of people make fun of it. “Stop acting like a North Korean child, performing like a monkey. Stop doing that.” We often say that. Why do they do that? Because they have to survive. But I would want you to note, is that Joseph is surviving. But Joseph is surviving in a very different different way. And Joseph is changing in a very very different way. Even though his environment is not the condition for this kind of change, but yet Joseph is changing a very very different way. Underlying all this, overarching all this is the fact God is with him and he realizes God is with him. And it’s that consistency that causes him to change wherever he may be. Whatever condition he may be. We see that. And we see his change a little bit. A lot bit actually. Listen, “When Joseph came in the morning he saw that these officers were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers in custody in his master’s house, ‘Why are you faces downcast today?’” He changed! Think about the Joseph of old with his brothers. Do you think he’d be like, “Hey Rueben you alright? You don’t look so good.” Rueben if he heard that from Joseph he’d have a heart attack. Because that wouldn’t have happened. Something happened to Joseph. There’s a change that happened with Joseph. “Sir I’m in charge of you and here’s some food, but I notice you’re not as chipper today. I see that’s something’s disturbing you today. Is it okay if you let me know how?” This is prison you know? “Here year your slop. Here you go. Eat it. Next!” That’s prison! Or something like that. Prison is not like, “Here you go! Are you doing okay? You don’t look so good today. Here you go.” That’s no prison. Something changed with Joseph, he’s become more tender. In a world that’s so not compassionate, he’s become more compassionate. His environment is filled with murders and thieves and the like. His environment doesn’t change him. His other environment does. God changes him. He sees things very differently doesn’t he? He doesn’t give up on God. How do we know that? He goes, “Why is your face downcast?” And what so what do these officers say? These officers says, “We have had dreams and there is no one to interpret them.” And what that means is in the outside world there are plenty of people to interpret dreams. Even right now, if you want there are places where they read palms, read dreams and things like that, and you can go to those people. Especially right now those things card reading, astrology in our culture are weird. Fun to do maybe, like fortune cookies. But in this environment they were everywhere. There’s a billboard: The dream interpreter come on in! Five golden shekels for three dreams! They were everywhere these interpreters. But in jail, no! Of course not! It’s jail! A lot of times in this culture dreams were a big thing. Dreams were a very very important thing. These officers were very troubled. And listen to what Joseph says, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” If you had the experience of Joseph would you say something like that? Remember, he had this grand dream and things are going downhill. I mean he’s at the bottom of the barrel right now. This shows you what kind of perspective that he has. No matter what kind of crap is going on the outside, no matter what kind of hardship is going on the outside, He sees God. And he’s being changed by the perspective. And that makes all the dreams in the world. And do you think it’s easy for him to say, “Don’t all dreams belong to God?” You think it’s hard to pray in front of your boss. “What were you doing?” “Oh, I was just”- it’s better today to say, “Oh I’m Asian, I’m meditating.” You know that’s much more easy to say than “I was praying to my Lord Jesus Christ.” Isn’t that weird? It’s much better to say I’m doing transcendental meditation right now. It’s much easier to say something like than I was praying to my Lord Jesus Christ because I am a Christian. It was much harder back then, by the way. Because he’s the only Hebrew. And if you tell him, “So what did your mighty god do for you?” “Well I had a loving family, and then I got put into slavery, and then I did nothing wrong and got put in jail. That’s what my Lord did.” But yet, Joseph had a very different perspective and you see it in his change. There’s certain things that doesn’t change, but there’s so many things that changes with him. And one of the first things we see is his compassion. His compassion. Well anyways.
He goes on to tell the dream. And we all know what those dreams are. The dreams come true. The cupbearer gets put into his former glory, of his position. The chief baker gets literally hanged or impaled. Maybe he poisoned the mummy bread or something like that. He tried to poison the Pharaoh. Somehow the Pharaoh, or if he suspected that he was trying to kill him. So he got hanged or impaled. And it happened just as the way Joseph interpreted it. But in verse 23 at the end, this is what is says, “Yet in spite of all these things coming true the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” It’s not like the chief cupbearer wanted to forget him. It’s not like the chief cupbearer was like “Ugh that Joseph character, he’s so annoying. I’d rather forget him.” It’s not like he had any kind of mal-intent. He just forgot about him. But that’s our world. That’s the way I see our world. That’s the reality of our world. The reality of our world is we forget. We forget. This world, we often forget. We think that our parents loves us and everything and they do in their special way and, but they forget about us. And I know there are many times that I forget about them. People make promises and they forget. People say, “No man, I’ll never forget you.” And then know a couple years later, “Who? Oh yeah that guy.” That’s what this world is. This world will forget about you. And if you exist in a world that forgets about you, and you have no hope and you have no other environment than that. Then the only hope that you have, the only chance that you have, is to be hardened by this world. To be hardened by everything so you’ll be changed as your environment changes. What if you realized that God is with you? What if you realized that this world may forget about me; this world is just a dog eat dog kind of world. But what if you realized that God is in control of this world and God is in control of your life. God loves you, and God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. How about that? What kind of person would you be? You’ll be a person a lot more free because you know why? Because you know that you’re not in control, you know that God’s in control. But you know that God is good. Even if you wanted to be in control. You’re in control because a lot of bad things are happening in your life so because of that of you’re in control. “Oh I have to defend myself from over there.” Then something happens over here. “Oh I gotta defend myself from over here.” Something happens over here, “Oh I gotta defend from over here.” Something happens behind me, “Oh I gotta defend myself over here.” And next thing you know, you have no place to go. But you’re in control though. You’re in control. What if you know that world is full of disappointment but God is guiding you through it? Someone hurts you, it still hurts, but you know that God’s still in control. You still now that God still loves you, and there’s hope. You don’t give up on your dreams, just like Joseph never gave up on his dreams. The dream that God gave, and you still hold on to them and you still go on through life. You’re still kind because you realize God is so kind to you and you know that all this is working for a purpose. All of this is working for a purpose. But not everything has to work for a purpose you know. I don’t want to just sit here when God lets you suffer there’s a purpose. Sometimes there is no purpose. Don’t believe me ask Job. There’s cases where Satan just goes to God, “Hey your servant right here I’m gonna make him suffer.” And God allows that in that person’s life. The thing is there’s some similarities with Joseph and Job if you think about it. What’s the similarities? There’s no bitterness whatsoever. There’s full trust and there’s full joy knowing that God will work for the good of those who love him. How are you changing? Are you letting your environment change? And that’s natural your environment should change. But what kind of environment are you in. Are in an environment where God is looking after you? Or are you in an environment where you react to every nasty thing this world has to offer you? Or do you see God in your life? Are you still holding onto the dreams God that gave you? Or have you let those go, and now you just have to defend yourself? You look at Joseph and Joseph held onto his dreams. Joseph never lost the sight of his dreams and we’ll see those dreams come to realization. Our dreams as Christians is the fact that God will one day come. That God will work amazing things in our lives. That God has a purpose for you and I. Do you still l have that dream when you were younger, now? Or have you all but forgotten them? Let’s pray.