Joseph had to wait 13 years to understand God’s plan for his life. During those years, he endured challenging experiences that could have shaken his faith and caused him to lose sight of any hope that God really cared about him, much less had something good in mind for his life.
But neither God nor Joseph wavered.
Every failure is a test of character. There always comes a time when giving up is easier than standing up, when giving in looks more attractive than digging in. In those moments, character may be the only thing you have to draw on to keep you going.
This Sunday we learn from Joseph that your heart is revealed and your character gets forged when life does not turn out the way you planned.Read More
Have you heard any good news-bad news stories recently?
Good News – Bad News
Is your life a good news-bad news story?
You know how these stories go —
Something happens and you think, “Oh, that’s good news.”
And then it twists, “That’s bad news.”
And it just keeps going like that, twisting back and forth.
Here’s an example to remind you of the category.
Two friends loved baseball. Their burning curiosity was — “When we die and go to heaven, will there be baseball in heaven?”
So they made a pact that whichever one of them died first and went to heaven would try to get permission, if that sort of thing is allowed, and let the other one know whether or not baseball is there.
Eventually, one of them died and made contact with the other one, who said, “Well, what’s the story?”
The guy in heaven said, “Well, I have some good news, and some bad news.”
The guy on earth said, “What is it?”
He said, “The good news is there is baseball in heaven. The bad news is you’re pitching on Friday.”
The reason I bring this up, and there is a reason, Joseph — who’s life we’re looking at today — is essentially a good news-bad news story.
He’s his daddy’s favorite. That’s good.
But his brothers hate his guts. That’s bad.
His daddy gives him a beautiful coat. That’s good.
But his brothers rip it off, pretend he’s dead, and sell him into slavery in a distant land. That’s bad.
But he goes to work for Potiphar, who’s a high-ranking, wealthy Egyptian official, and Potiphar likes him. He ends up in charge of everything.
He’s a tremendous success, plus we’re told he’s well built and handsome, sort of like Brad Pitt, who my wife thinks is good-looking — though in person he’s kind of small and not all that impressive… and a little dumpy, actually.
Joseph apparently is taller than Brad Pitt and better looking. That’s good.
But his boss’s wife is attracted to him and tries to seduce him. That’s bad.
But Joseph resists her. That’s good.
But the wife is furious and she lies to her husband and gets Joseph arrested. Since there are no sexual harassment laws on the books in Egypt at that time, Joseph is hosed. And he goes to prison. That’s bad.
But in prison he meets Pharaoh’s cup bearer and interprets his dream, which predicts that the cup bearer’s going to get out, and he has an arrangement for the cup bearer to get Joseph released from prison. That’s good.
But the cup bearer forgets about him, and Joseph languishes in prison for two years. That’s bad.
We wonder as this story goes on and on, back and forth, all these twists, how is it going to end, because with any good news-bad news story what matters is the very last turn.
How does the story end?
Well, like all of us, Joseph started with a dream.
He had a dream that the sun and the moon and the stars were all going to be under his reign.
He was going to do great things.
He was going to make his father proud.
He was going to be a leader.
And like all of us, he woke up one day to bad news.
He’s attacked by his brothers, sold to a traveling caravan, carried off to a distant land, purchased to be a slave for a family he didn’t know.
He was about to learn what every one of us sooner or later comes to know — That
Your heart is revealed and your character gets forged when life does not turn out the way you planned.
Your heart is revealed and your character is forged, for better or for worse, when your life does not turn out the way you planned — in what looks like failure… in bad news.
Everyone here knows about bad news, about disappointment.
I’ll bet everyone here, if it was just you and me one-on-one talking, I’ll bet everyone here has some area in your life that did not turn out the way you dreamed.
Maybe it’s your schooling.
Maybe it’s your work.
Maybe it’s your marriage.
Maybe it’s your children.
Maybe it’s your parents.
Maybe it’s your friends.
Maybe it’s your financial life.
Maybe it’s your health.
You all know about bad news.
We’re all good news-bad news stories.
Well, I want to talk in this message about 3 crossroads Joseph comes to where his fate is determined by the choice he makes.
These are crossroads we all come to when life does not turn out the way we planned.
I’d like to ask you today to consider how you respond when you come to these crossroads.
Let’s look at this story in Genesis 39.
Joseph is far away from home, separated from his father, betrayed by his brothers, surrounded by strangers who bought and sold him.
His dream appears dead. He’s just a slave.
This is the first crossroads.
As he goes into the household of Potiphar, Joseph makes a decision that’s quite apparent from this text.
Even though he is very disappointed in how things are turning out, even though his dream seems to be far away, Joseph refuses to quit.
When life doesn’t turn out the way you want, you have to decide whether you’re going to refuse to quit or give up in despair.
Refuse to Quit — Give up in Despair
If I was in Joseph’s place, I would have been tempted to give up — “This isn’t what I signed up for. I may have to work for this man, but I don’t have to like it. I’ll work with a negative spirit. I’ll punch the clock. I’ll go through the motions. I’ll live on auto pilot. I’ll just drift through it.”
One of the key phrases in the story of Joseph is at the very beginning of verse 2 where the writer says,
The Lord was with Joseph.
You see, it was when life didn’t turn out the way he planned that Joseph discovered he wasn’t alone.
It was in a distant land, far from home, far from his father, far from his family that he realized someone was with him from whom he could not be separated — and that someone was God.
So Joseph, who is a man of remarkable leadership, applies himself diligently to the task at hand — not what he hoped for, not his dream job, but there’s this progression involved.
In verse 2 we’re told he was in the house of Potiphar, and the idea that’s being expressed in the text here seems to be that he’s not simply a worker in the field, which would be the normal course for a slave.
He’s been promoted to work in the house — a management position.
Then in verse 4 the writer says:
Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.
He became in a sense his executive assistant, personally attached to him.
Then we read in verses 5 and 6:
From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.
In other words, Potiphar makes Joseph his overseer — the chief of staff, to use our language for it.
He delegates the entire operation over to Joseph’s leadership.
And his level of trust in Joseph’s competence and character are so high he never even asks to look over his books, no micro-managing.
The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
His only concern is, “What’s for dinner? What do I feel like eating? Mexican? Indian? Chinese? In n Our Burger?
Because Joseph didn’t quit…
He set into motion the development of his potential
And the deepening of his faith
And the endurance that would one day enable him to become the most effective leader in all of Egypt
And the humility to play the role God had him play
And the opportunity to rescue his family
And the vision to redeem the world
What if Joseph would have quit?
There’s a real good chance he would have missed his destiny.
He would have missed the unique role God had chosen Joseph to play in the redemptive history of God’s work in the world.
Of course, the truth is, however visible or small it may appear in this world, God has chosen every one of us to play a unique role in the redemption of the world.
So let me ask you now — do you ever quit something when you’re disappointed?
A show of hands on this one, how many of you ever took piano lessons when you were growing up?
Raise your hand real high, would you.
How many of you ever quit before you could play like Katherine Adams, who’s playing up here this morning?
Here’s the truth, quitting is always easier than enduring.
It’s always easier to stop and have a donut than run another lap.
It’s always easier to stomp out of a room in anger than stay and do the hard work of seeking to resolve conflict.
When life doesn’t turn out the way you planned, the option of quitting will begin to look like sweet relief.
Maybe like this:
“This marriage is difficult. I didn’t sign up for this. I just want out.
I’ll just give up pursuing oneness in this marriage — which God calls to be the most intimate relationship.
I’ll just quit, outwardly or inwardly. That’s the easy way.”
It could look like this:
“Trying to live on a budget, honor God with my giving, move to the point of tithing, be financially disciplined, it’s just too hard.
I’m just tired of the effort. I’m just going to spend. That’s the easy way.”
Or… “This job or this ministry is not what I dreamed of. I planned on doing great things. I planned on playing on a much bigger field, not having to be faithful in this situation, not having to lead this small group. This is hard work. I think I’ll bail.”
Or… “College is not what I expected.”
Or… “This friendship takes effort. I don’t want to have to take effort in friendship. I think I’ll just walk away from it.”
Quitting may bring temporary relief, but it tends to produce people who live in a pattern of just giving up.
Every time you quit…
It shapes your character a little bit.
It forges your character a little bit.
It makes quitting a little easier the next time.
Strong character gets forged when you endure even though you feel like quitting.
People in whom the faith grows real strong are people who say, “I will seek to grow and persist and be wholly faithful even in difficult circumstances that I don’t understand.”
That’s the kind of thing that builds
When people just buckle down and say:
“Even though life has not turned out the way I planned, even though I’m disappointed in this situation, I want to be like Joseph. I refuse to quit. I will devote myself wholeheartedly, as the writer of Scripture says, to whatever my hand finds for me to do.”
When you do that, you will discover something.
You will discover the Lord is with you where you are, even in a distant land, even in slavery. You are not alone.
Whatever you’re going through… however tempted you are to quit today, hear this —
God is with you, and you are not alone.
So don’t quit when God is calling you to endure.
Joseph finds himself a stranger and a slave. That’s very bad.
But he endures, and God blesses him and he rises to the top. That’s very good.
It seems like the bad news ought to be over for Joseph.
Look at verse 7.
And after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
It’s the second crossroads Joseph faces.
And it’s a crossroads you and I will face as well.
When life does not turn out the way you planned, you will struggle with temptation. Mark it down, friends.
Obedience — Temptation
When life does not turn out the way you planned — when you don’t get the kind of joy you hoped for — and you’re disappointed… sin will start to look good to you. It just will.
Joseph could have thought, “What good is obedience going to do me? Where is God Anyway?
I’m far away from home.
I was betrayed by my brothers.
Isolated from my father.
I’m a slave, and most likely a slave is all I’m ever going to be.
I will never have what my father has, what I dreamed of having, what I deserve to have — my own life, my own wife, my own family, my own property, my own name.
So why shouldn’t I reach for what little happiness I can get?”
Joseph could have said that. He could have said, “I’ve amassed a lot of power. I’ve done a lot for this guy — all he has to do is think about what he’s going to eat, and I do everything else. Why shouldn’t I?”
But Joseph says no.
He says to this woman, “My life and my world have been given meaning by living God’s way — by trust and loyalty and honoring relational commitment — and to follow your way would be to enter a world of darkness that would destroy my life as I know it.”
So he says no.
But she persists.
Look at verse 10. This is a remarkable story.
And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
The implication of this verse, to “even be with her,” suggests the possibility that she moderated her demands when he said no outright to going to bed with her.
“Let’s just be together for a little while,” in the hopes of getting Joseph to take that first step — that small step over the line.
Just be with her, revel in her attentiveness and flattery.
Temptation works this way.
Make fun of her husband together with her.
Exchange glances and notes and touches that are full of promise… till eventually you cross the final line.
Still Joseph refuses.
So finally she decides to force the issue, verse 11.
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
In the house alone, she grabs his garment with such a force that, although he is a well-built man he can’t pull it away easily, so he just runs, leaves it there, leaves her there.
Sometimes, in times of temptation when you’re up against the wall and nothing else will get you out, there’s only one option — run!
I want to say this real plainly to some of you today who are at a point of temptation where you’re about to give in. You’re ready to give into sin, and you know it right now.
It’s time for you to run!
Paul says to Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:11:
Flee from immorality.
Don’t play games with it.
Stop rationalizing it.
Don’t pretend you’re sophisticated and complex enough that you can handle juggling temptations that other people just wouldn’t understand.
Because if you don’t — I’ll give you kind of a parable.
I grew up in Chicago and whenever we would eat outside in the summer we would hear this electric sound — “zzz, zzz, zzz” – the sound of bugs flying to their death.
And bugs will go to it voluntarily. They will choose to enter into – to participate in – the very thing that will lead to their death.
Why would a bug do that?
Well, their enemy is smart enough to know that you can’t just say to a bug, “Choose death,” and have it choose death.
The bug zapper involves deception. It involves the promise of life. A bug looks at the light and it is desirable to their eyes.
They look at the light and they think, “That’s a very cool looking light. I’d like to get closer to that light.” Then they fly in and get zapped.
I want you to try to get inside the head of a bug for a moment. I want you to try to think like a bug for just a moment because you’d think that after a while bugs would wise up.
You would think they would observe that the tray underneath that light is filled with the bodies of impulsive bugs who have gone before them.
You would think some thoughtful bug would say, “Whoa! Wait a minute. I’m not going to just blindly follow my desires. I notice all my friends get drawn into this, but they never come back. I’m going to consider just how high a price I’m willing to pay for the experience of a close look at this beautiful light.”
But no bug ever does this.
Apparently, they say to themselves, “I know what I’m doing. I’m strong enough and I’m smart enough and I’m clever enough to handle this attraction without getting burnt. I’m not going to pause for reflection. I’m a buzzzy guy.”
There is a way that seems right to a bug, but in the end it leads to death.
And only a bug would be that stupid, right?
Some of you are headed toward the same light right now.
Some of you experience the temptation that comes when life does not turn out the way you had planned, and the joy you hoped for looks like it’s going to go forever untouched, unclaimed by you.
Sin that at one point in your life you would have resisted quite easily begins to look quite good.
And little rationalizations begin to play themselves out in your mind because your disappointment has set you up for it.
Right now, you may be moving on a course that will lead you to destruction.
It may happen like this — you’ve crossed lines with a person to whom you are not married. Maybe they’re sexual lines.
Maybe it’s not a sexual relationship yet, but you’re building an emotional connection that is not healthy and you know it, by the kind of secrets that you share or the texts that you write or the looks you give — you communicate your attraction and availability in a way that is clearly leading towards disaster. It just is.
And the writer of Scripture says, and I want to urge you today as strongly as I know how to do it — just run.
If you need to sever that relationship, sever it. Make the phone call. Be done with it. Run.
Some of you are involved in sexually explicit material on the Internet.
You may be afraid of being found out, but you haven’t stopped.
Some of you are involved in sexually inappropriate behavior of one sort or another when you travel, when you’re on the road.
For God’s sake and for the sake of your own soul and for the sake of the people that are going to be damaged by sin, as people are always damaged by sin — run.
I can’t choose that for you. No one can choose that but you. God himself will not make that choice. That’s your call.
For some it may be dishonesty.
Some of you have gotten very loose with your words. You aren’t even aware of it anymore.
You deceive people in order to get out of trouble without even batting an eye.
Or you’re a student and you’ve discovered that cheating will get you the grades you want… and your integrity is being eroded year by year. You hardly notice it.
Or you’re dishonest financially. You’re engaged in practices that are a fraud. Maybe it doesn’t even bother you anymore.
But the writer of Scripture says — run!
Maybe you’re involved in addictive patterns that are destroying your life.
Maybe you’re allowing resentment to poison what used to be a generous heart.
Or allowing anger to fly in a way that is withering the spirits of people around you.
The writer of Scripture says run.
Do whatever you need to.
Talk to a trusted friend.
Get help from a well-trained Christian counselor.
Get support from a trusted small group.
Develop some accountability so you don’t face this on your own. Face it in community.
Refuse to rationalize it any more.
Say those days are done.
Make it a matter of daily prayer. Cry out to God.
If there’s a place where you know you’re likely to give in to sin, don’t go there. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re asking to fail.
Determine that you will do whatever it takes to resist what you need to resist, but run.
Sin leads to destruction.
With God’s help and God’s grace we’re going to be the kind of church that takes that real seriously.
I’m asking you, if the spirit is tugging at any area of your life right now and there’s an authentic conviction of sin going on, as there will be for a lot of hearts in here right now, will you make the decision to say, “I’m going to run. Whatever it takes, God, I’ll do it. I can’t do it on my own. I need your help. I need the help of this community, but I’m going to run.”
See, if Joseph had given in here, if he would have fallen at this point, he would have betrayed the one who trusted him.
He would have betrayed himself.
He would have betrayed the tradition of his family.
He would have betrayed his values.
He would have betrayed God.
Very probably he would never have known his destiny. He probably would have headed down a whole other path for the rest of his life.
But Joseph runs. Joseph resists. Joseph says, “I want to honor God.”
I read that, and my first thought was, “Well, now surely God’s going to reward him after he puts up a heroic struggle like that.”
Take a look at 39:13
When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
She identifies with the slaves in the household — “He has been brought to us, you and me — we’re kind of together in this — this Hebrew, this foreigner, this outsider” — one of the first indications of anti-Semitism in scripture — “someone who’s not like us.” She gets them all stirred up.
Then when her husband comes home, verse 17
She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
She totally twists the truth. Like Joseph was the one who was trying to force himself on her and that her cry prevented Joseph from doing that.
We read this and think, this can’t be. This is a classic case of utter injustice.
If God’s any kind of a God, he’s not going to let this woman get away with this. If he’s any kind of God, the truth must come out. Justice must roll like a river. Joseph must be rewarded.
When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
When it doesn’t seem possible, when it seems like you couldn’t take any more, there’s more bad news. Joseph ends up in prison.
Look at verse 21, though. You find a familiar phrase repeated a few times in the next couple verses.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
The Lord did not spare him from prison, but the Lord was there with him.
As the Lord is with you — wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, whatever your disappointment.
As he was with Joseph, God is with you.
Joseph made a decision that is pretty sobering to me.
Joseph decided he would rather face life with the Lord and have nothing than face life without the Lord and have everything.
So in prison he comes to a third crossroads.
One crossroads is — are you going to refuse to quit or give in to despair?
The second crossroad is — are you going to be obedient or give in to temptation?
And here’s a third one. Joseph is in prison with two officials from the Pharaoh, the baker and the cup bearer, who’s like the butler.
Look at chapter 40, verse 4.
After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men — the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison — had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.
When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”
This is remarkable behavior.
Joseph with all his troubles sees someone else’s troubles.
Joseph with all his burden cares about someone else’s burden.
There’s a third kind of crossroads when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned —
Compassion — Self-focused
It would be very easy for Joseph to become isolated at this point and focus only on his own disappointment… because when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned, you forget that other people face disappointment, too.
You can start to think only about your own hurts.
Your world becomes so small that your pain is the only pain you notice.
You don’t see anyone else’s pain.
This really is the death of a human heart.
It happens sometimes when people get disappointed. Their spirit just withers up, and their heart dies and compassion fades away from within.
But not Joseph.
Instead he realizes that he is not the only one for whom life has not turned out according to plan.
He realizes he’s just one among many in the fellowship of the disappointed, and so he lives in prison the way Jesus would live if Jesus was in prison.
He treats disgraced prisoners, forgotten men, like human beings when nobody else does. He notices them.
This is real simple stuff. He communicates genuine interest even with all his problems.
At a time when we would expect him to be self-preoccupied, he is sincerely concerned for their well-being.
Let me just ask you a few questions at this point.
How compassionate are your eyes?
Do you read faces of people around you the way that Joseph did… because most people wear what’s going on in their heart on their face.
If you look at people’s faces as you go throughout your day — you’ll see sadness, anxiety, fear, anger.
Do you look at your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, your spouse, your children and even notice if their face is dejected or sad?
How compassionate are your words?
For Joseph it just took a single question, “Why do you look so sad?”
Those words told them somebody noticed them. Somebody cared about their lives.
That’s a remarkable thing to people, especially disappointed people.
Do you ever think about the impact your words have on the heart of the person you’re speaking to, because every word you say either brings a little hope or kills a little hope.
Let me ask you, when’s the last time you expressed genuine concern or compassion to another human being when you had nothing to gain?
Joseph has a compassionate heart, compassionate eyes, compassionate words, and he offers to help.
“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”
Joseph interprets, verse 12:
“This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer.
But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”
When the baker hears about this, he tells Joseph his dream. Joseph gives the interpretation, verse 18:
“This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”
The baker said that’s the last time I ask you to interpret one of my dreams.
It’s all Joseph can do is just give the truth. And it comes to pass.
God has allowed him to have insight and to speak truth.
The butler is released. It’s good news.
Can you imagine Joseph’s joy at this point? He’s going to be set free, no more prison, no more slavery. He can go back to his father. He can go home.
In that first day of the release, he waits for the guards to come and open the gates and allow him out. Nothing.
He thinks to himself, I guess tomorrow. Maybe they’re planning a celebration for me, so it’ll happen tomorrow.
But tomorrow comes and nothing happens then.
He tells himself maybe it’s red tape. Maybe it just takes a little while to do the paperwork.
Nothing happens the next day.
He says maybe the cup bearer’s just waiting for the right time. It’s just a timing thing.
But nothing happens the next day or the next week or the next month. Eventually it becomes clear, the butler just forgot.
Joseph’s whole life hanging in the balance of another human heart, and the man just forgets.
But the writer here just shows us the way human nature works.
It’s a man that has his own life, and people tend to be obsessed with their own well-being.
Two long years Joseph sits in that prison… and I hate to do this to you, but we’re going to leave him there today.
When you get home you might want to read Genesis 37 to the end of the book to get the rest fo the story.
This is not the end of Joseph’s story.
And the reason I’m stopping here is —
This is not the end of Joseph’s story.
This is not the end of your story.
This is not the end of my story.
This is also not the end of God’s story. God is not finished yet.
You see, God created the heavens and the earth. God spun this planet and the moon and the stars and made the lights and things to creep on the earth and swim in the ocean.
Then at the climax of it, God made human beings male and female in his own image, and God said, “That’s good.”
But we rejected God, defied his will, destroyed his community, chose sin and guilt and death, and it was very bad.
So God began again. God knelt down and begins again with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph — a pretty motley crew, to tell you the truth.
God says, “I will make a covenant, and I will give you my word and my laws and, more than that, my presence, and I will bless all peoples on the earth through you.” And God says it’s very good.
But they were just like us, those people.
They forgot his word.
They oppressed the poor.
They damaged the weak.
They chased after idols.
They were timid and jealous and stubborn just like us.
It’s very bad.
So God sent his Son. God sent Jesus Christ, who was the best thing that ever happened to this sorry, old world.
We beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and the angels of heaven looked at God come to this earth, and they marveled and cried out, “Glory to God in the highest.” And God said, “It’s very good.”
He came to his own, but his own did not receive him.
People rejected him.
Crowds mocked him.
Peter denied him.
Judas betrayed him.
His friends abandoned him.
The government crucified him.
They laid his body in the tomb.
And that was very bad. That was the worst day in the history of this world.
But on the third day he was raised to life — and that was really good.
And ever since that third day, whatever bad news may enter your life has no power to separate you from the love of God.
For the story of this world, the story of your life and my life is a good news-bad news story.
The bad news, you know all about that — disappointment, failures, sin, sickness, pain, disease, guilt, death.
The good news — here’s the good news.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? No. In all those things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
This is the good news —
For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Alright, let’s pray as the band comes to lead us in a closing song.