The Land Between as You Wait


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Sermon Notes

Where You Least Expect It…

Opportunity comes knocking. Sometimes opportunity comes not only when we least expect it, but where we least expect it! The definition of ‘opportunity’ is arresting and thought provoking.
“a favorable, appropriate or advantageous combination of circumstances…the word has roots in
Latin and Old French…fitness, convenience, suitableness, a favourable time…a good position,
chance, or prospect, for advancement or success”
Everything about this definition speaks of favorable circumstances, of a situation that sets a person up for the possibility of good and meaningful life…great upbringing, economic and academic advantages…
Yet, how are we to look at life when circumstances and people can be difficult, perplexing and uncertain? Is it inevitable that we become cynical and wait for better circumstances to ‘show up’?
Or can we mature in meaningful ways in unlikely places? Can we make a difference in the lives of others in settings marked by stigma and restrictions?
Are you in a place…relationally, emotionally, work wise, physically that is less than favourable?
Are you grappling with restrictions, frustrations and uncertainty? Can you put a name to that ‘place’?

Navigating Opportunity in an Unlikely and Unlikeable Place: Genesis 39:20-23

Let’s step back into Joseph’s drama again. He did nothing to deserve being in prison. He maintained moral purity in the face of recurring temptation and instead of being affirmed for his courageous stand, he lands up in prison, with the stench of scandal trailing him. Yet, in this unlikely place Joseph faces his hard reality and embraces opportunity in at least three realm of life.
As we look at these three realms, which one most speaks to your heart and mind?
Opportunity to Cultivate and Express Faith in God
Opportunity to Mature in Character and Life Skills
Opportunity to Serve Others along the way
Opportunity is Knocking and Joseph is Answering (even when you don’t like to door): Genesis 39:20-23
The Faith Realm: It is clear from the text that his faith in God is evident to others. “…the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success…” Vs. 23, also verse 8, chapter 40.
The Character and Life Skills Realm: The warden trusts in the integrity of his character and the competence of his skills at managing and leading others. Joseph renders the scandal that landed him in prison, unbelievable because of who he is and how he conducts himself.
Navigational Insights and Tools: 1. Can you see and accept that ‘where’ you are doesn’t need to be a reason or excuse for cynicism and an erosion of faith and character? Consider these passages: James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-9. Some ‘places’ we spend time in can be profoundly difficult. Yet…is God teasing and taunting us with words and promises such as Romans 8:28-29…or is God longing and purposing to do a refining and maturing work in us, for our good and in the service of others?
Pick up the ‘tools’ of Scripture, wise friends, real stories where insight and hope can be extracted, thoughtful and biblically sound worship music and listening/reading materials.
Who are you walking with? Proverbs 13:20. Who are you having ‘table talk’ with? Engage in purposeful Bible reading, reflection and responsiveness.
Take note of how you are maturing in specifics. Take note of what you resent or fear, in specifics.
What life skills can you use, in the place you find hard to be? ___________________________

Opportunity Keeps Knocking and Joseph Keeps Answering: Genesis 40

The Serving Others Realm: Friends, beyond the tension and drama of the story, a treasured opportunity is embraced by Joseph. He chooses to serve others with God given gifts and skills. What doesn’t he do? He doesn’t isolate himself from others and brood over what went wrong…and what shouldn’t have happened. He doesn’t rehash the injustice and the stigma of a sexual scandal and being falsely accused. Did these circumstances hurt and wound the man? Of course. Genesis 40:14-15. He is seeking to honour God right where he is, even if he landed there on the basis of a lie. And so, he is mindful of others and meets real needs in the here and now.
Navigational Insights and Tools: 2. Will you ask God for the grace to endure a hard reality and somehow, and in some way serve another, even through tears fall and questions persist? Sometimes, persisting with faith is massively important. More on that next Sunday…Navigating ‘the land between’ Genesis 41.
Will you explore ways in which to serve others, Sundays or between Sundays? Remember the example of Jesus. Mark 10:45. Even on the night, and in the place of betrayal. John 13. That ought to get our attention. And spark prayers of confession and direction.

So, You and Your Unlikely Places of Opportunity…

will you ask God to help you engage in the opportunities offered in the realm of faith, life skills, character and service? Which realm most needs your attention today? What navigational insight/tool do you need to lay hold of and use? And remember, you are not alone. Jesus by his Spirit lives in the life of a follower, ready to help us navigate opportunity, with wisdom, perspective, and courage in the most unlikely of places, beginning today.


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