Dirty Jobs: Wrestling with Waiting


Frank was a type A personality, he liked to do things efficiently and effectively and so he wasn’t much for being patient. He also didn’t have a long fuse when it came to negative conversations. In fact, patience and bad news seemed to be the epitome of wasteful. Why should he be patient, why should he wait for something to happen? And at the same time why should he read the negative stories in the newspaper or watch the 10 o’clock news, it wasn’t like he could change the outcome. When he got a call from his wife during a busy day at work, she talked slowly and didn’t seem very upbeat. Frank interrupted her and exhorted her to be brief and positive. After all, he didn’t have time. She paused for a moment and then cheerfully replied, “I discovered the airbags in our new BMW work great!” (Dr. Paul Chappell).

Sometimes, no matter how eager we are for good news and for action, there are periods of life where things come to a sudden and drastic stop.  Where we get to discover the airbags of our new car, or cancer diagnosis puts our plans in a holding pattern, bankruptcy makes retirement a dream; grief guts us of any hope for the future. If you’ve been to the DMV on a busy day, you’ve probably experience the frustration of waiting. So far in our sermon series Dirty Jobs, we’ve looked at a few of the dirty jobs Joseph was required to perform in hopes of being a man of God in the midst of a world falling apart. Joseph’s story appears to continue declining series of starts and stops, once the favored son and the hated brother, he was thrown into a cistern and sold as a slave. In the house of Potiphar he excelled as a manager only to be caught up in a miscarriage of justice when his master’s wife claimed he “made sport of her” and now for all his faithfulness and all his willingness to honor God with his life, he is the newest resident of the Egyptian criminal justice system. Even though he has excelled once again behind bars, given greater responsibility—it is still being done behind bars.

If you struggle waiting, you’re not allow. I know a lot of you are baseball fans, some of you are die-hard Cubs fans, others are wise Cardinal fans, but the Wall-Street Journal did some analysis of America’s pastime and found a lot of time just passing by. In their study time begin innings racked up 42:41, time between pitches took up 1:14:49, and all in all, nearly 90% of the game is spent waiting. So baseball game a decree–hurry up!

How do we handle the Dirty Job of wrestling with waiting when we aren’t hanging out for a leisurely day at the ballpark? Although Joseph was in a family line chosen by God, with huge promises, he was left wrestling with waiting, waiting for freedom, waiting for justice.  Joseph’s story behind bars gives us three insights into how to respond in Genesis 40:

(v. 1-4) Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.

WAITING ON GOD OFFERS US A CHANCE TO BE FAITHFUL TO GOD: Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Wrestling with Waiting”


The Same but Totally Different

“In the same way people are quite prepared to leave Christian terminology untouched, but they can surreptitiously interpolate that it involves no decisive thought. And so they remain unrepentant, for after all they have destroyed nothing. They no more desire a powerful king than an heroic liberator or religious authority.”  (Soren Kierkegaard, The Present Age)

We see from 1846 a prophetic look into our current reality. A current cultural condition where people are happy enough to leave the facade of the church and Christianity alone as long as they can reinterpret what everything actually means. George Orwell in Politics and the English Language described a condition in which the communicator got to a place where he was “indifferent to whether his words mean anything at all.” Part of the cynicism, apathy and disengagement we see in the realms of politics is that words no longer have meaning. Partly, the church faces a redefining of key words such as love, sin, tolerance, and on the list goes. The words sound the same but for all intensive purposes are totally different.

Let’s go back to God’s definition as a way of understanding God’s desire!

Some Things Stay the Same

“A revolutionary age is an age of action;  ours is the age of advertisement and publicity. Nothing ever happens but there is immediate publicity everywhere.” -The Present Age (Kierkegaard)

These words came not in the aftermath of another Kim Kardashian story of a chipped tooth or vacation. Instead they are the words from the prophetic tract by Danish author Soren Kierkegaard. While a lot has changed, there is a lot we can learn from those who have come before us.

Similarly, it is God’s Word that still millineum later can still speak with relevance and power into our lives. Let the revolution age come!


Dirty Jobs: All We Need

When our appetites are raging, when our attention is divided—we have to figure out if resistance is really worth the effort. Is God…

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All We Need?- As Joseph’s story continues, it takes a turn for the worst and again his coat becomes the center of attention—with Joseph’s cloak her mind starting working overdrive (39:16-20a) 16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” 19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: All We Need”

Dirty Jobs: Attention

Today we continue in our look at the story of Joseph and the Dirty Jobs he must confront to move forward with God’s plan. Even if you’ve lost battles before with lust, with desire, Joseph reveals the key comes down to…


Attention (Genesis 39:8-12) 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?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. 11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 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. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Attention”

Dirty Jobs: Appetites


If you’ve been to a county fair most likely you’ve gotten to watch and laugh at the pie eating contest, or you have seen on ESPN the skinny Asian guy who beats all the chubby others guys in a hot dog eating contest, with a stomach that is described as elastic. Reuter’s Life! shared a story that you probably haven’t heard of, it was from Taiwan in 2008, at Dayeh University, where the students were having a contest to crown one team the “Big Stomach King!” That is something to write home about, right? In Taiwanese fashion, the contest was with rice balls and cheese and had over 30 teams involved.

One 23 year old man had just pulled his team into first place, downing two full buns of rice balls and cheese, even helping out downing some of the food on his teammates plate, when he started throwing up persistently, passed out, and died. “I can’t say why he died,” said Huang Te-hsiang, the university’s dean of student affairs. “He had been in the contest before. He was a strong guy.” The graduate student, surname Chen, was on course to win the five-year-old annual competition, a publicist said.” What was the prize that drove him to keep shoving food down his throat, long after his stomach was filled up, what prompted the unending urge for more?…The publicist added, “He would have won T$2,000 ($60).” He had a devouring appetite was ultimately was misapplied.

Today, that is really at the heart of our focus today, as we discuss the hungers and appetites within us that when misapplied can be life-threatening.  In our sermon series Dirty Jobs we have been looking at the life of Joseph, as his story unfolds in the book of Genesis, and the dirty jobs that need to be confronted to move forward. Dealing with the issues that are easy to ignore but imperative to address. Someone came up to me after last weeks sermon on jealousy and said in there decades in church they never heard that topic covered. Isn’t that how it works? We are great at avoiding dirty jobs. Out of sight, out of mind.  Yet, Mike Rowe in a Dirty Jobs episode took on the job of Garbage Collector for Chinatown. As you can imagine, after a while, even if you don’t see the trash, it starts to stink. The same thing happens in our lives, when we ignore the dirty jobs our lives begin to stink, our relationships begin to spoil, our appetites go unchecked.

As we look at the next chapter in Joseph’s story from Genesis 39, we find that after being sold into slavery by his brothers for 20 shekels, the slave traders heading to Egypt made a pretty penny by selling him into the home of an Egyptian named Potiphar. He is described as the captain of the royal guard, and he became a possession in a household where things were going to begin stinking when left unchecked and where the Dirty Job of Outlasting Lust would come to the forefront. He was now in a situation where everyone seemed to be controlled by their…

Appetite (Gen. 39: 2-4,6) The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned…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. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Appetites”

Faith of our fathers

faith of our fathers

Faith of our fathers, living still,

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whenever we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.

                       -Frederick William Faber, “Faith of Our Fathers”