Lessons from Joseph: Grace Wins!

a sermon from Sunday 9th September, Read Genesis 42:1-29, 36-38 

It’s time to wrap up our story of Joseph for the time being.  Much has changed in his life as we have journeyed with him, we have been challenged by this story to examine our relationships, with family and friends, and God.  We’ve been reminded of the ways temptation can whisper to us and the need to stand firm, and we’ve seen how God can use us when we wait faithfully for his time, and are spiritually centred in Him.  And now today we catch up with the family again, reunited after about 25 years apart. Continue reading

Lessons from Joseph: Prison to Power

From a sermon delivered 26 August, read Genesis 41.

When we look at this episode in Joseph’s life it’s as if his break comes when he had stopped striving for it.  As a youngster he had always tried to be the best, the most popular, the brightest, yet all his striving only caused disappointment, division, and rejection.

In prison he’d hoped that the right connections would help him – but as we recall his ‘connections’ forgot him.

Now two years later – we imagine he’d resigned himself to his fate when unexpectedly – a lifeline – he is called upon to help Pharaoh. Hope restored. Continue reading

Lessons from Joseph: Stand!

From the sermon Sunday 19th July. Read Genesis 39 & 40

When life is tough, when temptations come our way, when all seems lost, some stand – some fall. There are some that stand out with incredible strength to maintain what they believe – to resist the pressure of the crowd, to resist greed of money, or status, to resist moral temptation.

I don’t know all the details but my recollection of Sir John Marshall, former Prime Minister of New Zealand was that he was a good example of a man who stood firm throughout his career. Over 29 years in parliament, 20 years as a minister and 17 as deputy leader or leader of the National Party Sir John was renowned for his strength of character, and deep Christian faith.  Sir John I am sure had many opportunities to stumble but he remained centred on Jesus Christ to the day he died en route to a meeting of the United Bible Society. Continue reading

Lessons from Joseph: Stop the Clock!

a sermon preached 12 August 2012. Text Genesis 37:11-36

When in the 7th form we played numerous practical jokes on the staff.  One day a very loud alarm clock was hidden in the lectern before Assembly, as the deputy-principal began to speak the clock was heard to go off and our class the hall on mass.  We knew that the clock was actually a stink bomb and that with the alarm going off so would the bomb. 

As soon as the clock began ticking it was always going to go off, unless somehow someone or something intervened and stopped it.

Last week as we began to understand Jacob’s favouritism, Joseph’s arrogance, and the brothers growing resentment combined to create a stink-bomb – which was simply waiting to explode. Continue reading

Lessons from Joseph: Family Baggage

a sermon from Sunday 5th August. Read Genesis 37:1-11; James 2:1-9

What a story!  Today’s text from Genesis reads like a modern-day soap opera, even though it was probably written 3500 years ago.

Over the next 5 weeks we will follow the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob and his favourite wife, Rachel. You’ll note as we explore their stories that God achieves God’s purposes despite seemingly terrible situations and despite the fact that the people often at the heart of the story are the least likely of people to be doing great things for God.As you listened to the beginnings of this story of Jacob and his sons you’d quickly recognise that they had a few problems.  These days we talk of ‘dysfunctional’ families – Jacob and family tick all the boxes. Serious counselling was needed. Continue reading