Dirty Jobs: Be Ready

Joseph instead of pouting is faithful…We start to see that waiting is a window to…

prison fellowship

Being Ready (v. 5-8) 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. Remember, Joseph’s problems started with two dreams that he had shared with his brothers, and here again we see two dreams become the means of his story moving forward. 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?” “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”In the Ancient Near East dreams were a big deal. There were recognized dream experts, the Babylonians had a dream journal with common interpretations, but Joseph while in prison has no access to these things. Don’t miss what is about to happen—Joseph is ready to allows his past experiences to be resources in moving forward God’s future plans. In fact, his response to the two men and their dreams is noteworthy: Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” He was ready to be used by God. He has a God that is big enough to work through the crowning moments and the crushing blows! This is a pivotal question in our own life—HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?

Sometimes it is the prison cells of life that put us in a position to experience God’s presence like never before…When there is no self-reliance or self-delusion—we find God’s grace is all that is waiting—like Paul heard—“my grace is sufficient for you.” After serving as a marine, working is way up into the top spheres of political, he seemed to be made of stone—called a hatchet man, he was brought down to size in the aftermath of the Watergate break-ins and after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, he was sent to Alabama’s Maxwell Prison. In his best-selling memoir, Born Again, Chuck wrote, “I found myself increasingly drawn to the idea that God had put me in prison for a purpose and that I should do something for those I had left behind.” Colson emerged from prison with a new mission: mobilizing the Christian Church to minister to prisoners. He founded Prison Fellowship in 1976, which has become the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. It was from inside the big house, from behind the bars, that Chuck Colson’s life would be shaped for nearly 4 decades, allowing him to take serious the call to remember the prisoners and least of these. His brokenness was about to become a platform for God’s wholeness!

For Tom, his world seemed to be going nowhere, locked away, without any hope of rescue. In his desperation and desire for more, he went to hear evangelist Chuck Colson preach on a visit to Oregon State Penitentiary. After Colson preached, vocalist and singer Kathy Trocolli sang “My Life Is In His Hands.” The combination was powerful and afterwards Tom went up to the singer and told her how the song has really put things into perspective, since he was going through a tough time, he had found new hope through Christ. She probed deeper and he told her about his impending divorce, losing his family as he told her, “I got the divorce papers this morning!” She prayed with him reminding him of the words of the song: My life is in Your hands, My heart is in Your keeping, I’m never without hope…” After a few hours at the prison, Chuck and Kathy were off, about a month later the two were paired for another prison visit, this time to Chicago, IL. Again Chuck preached, Kathy sang “My Life Is In His Hands”, and when she finished, a woman walked up to her and told her that the song really touched her heart. The woman whose name was Pam said she was going through a tough time. Kathy probed a bit deeper, and found out that Pam’s husband was in prison, she was going through a divorce, and her family had been shattered. Kathy asked her: “Where’s your husband in prison?” “Salem, OR” Pam replied. “I was just there” Kathy burst out “and your husband’s name is Tom, isn’t it?” Pam nodded through the tears and for the next hour Kathy was able to give Pam new hope, telling her about her husband’s changes. The divorce papers were rescinded, from the land of the dead, to the land of the living, Tom and Pam were reunited!

Are you ready to prepare for God’s presence to work powerfully? We have the chance right here at the church at the crossroads to say “yes” to God in preparation for what he has planned. I’m thankful for our leadership team here—our elders have individually said “yes” to engaging in one on one discipleship building. Will you say “yes” to small groups in preparation for who might come in 6 weeks or 3 months? Will you say yes to Sunday school—not only to grow but to build community in preparation for a guest when they come? Will you say yes to the needs of the lost over the comfort of the saved? We have the chance to build an infrastructure that can support someone coming in our doors for the first time—we want to be ready! We are on a mission for the hearts and minds of mankind, but it starts with renewing our minds and rejuvenating our hearts in Christ.

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