St. Mark AME
“A Church where you are welcome.”
Early on in Joseph’s life, God gave him a dream. The narrative of his life, as described in Genesis, says that Joseph was seventeen years old when God gave him a dream. I’m glad I serve a God who still gives us dreams. One of the most tragic experiences in life is to not even know the dream that God has for your life, or to have had a dream and allow the business of living to cause you to bury it. The dream was given, but now it is dead, or at best in critical condition. But not only do we serve a God who gives dreams, but we serve a God who can take the dreams that have been buried and breathe life into them again. You aren’t living unless your dreams are alive. Henry David Thoreau said: “Our truest life is when our dreams are alive.”
Joseph’s father made it apparent that God had a plan for Joseph’s life in that he prepared an ornamented robe for Joseph, but not for the other sons. Then the most telling evidence that God had plans for Joseph is the dream that he gave him: Joseph’s dream was that he was binding sheaves along with his brothers when suddenly his sheaves stood upright and his brother’s sheaves gathered around his sheaves and bowed to it. And at that point, Joseph knew God had big plans for his life.
I don’t know why we think a God, who can do exceedingly abundantly, above all that we ask, or think, would give us small dreams. If we are doing small things, those are our dreams. Tell me the size of your dream and I’ll tell you the perception of the size of God and the awesomeness of His power to perform what He has promised. And the good news is God is still a giver of big dreams!
Not only did God give Joseph a dream, God gave Abraham a dream that he would be father of a new nation; God gave Moses a dream of Israel being free of the oppressive chains of Egypt; God gave David a dream of one kingdom united under God; God gave Isaiah a dream of a Savior that would bring salvation to the world. “For unto us a Child is born, on is given and the government Shall be upon his shoulders And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the Increase of His government There shall be no end.”
God gave Paul a dream that the Church would spread throughout the world; God gave Richard Allen a dream that a Church emphasizing selfhelp and economic thrift would be started in the Americas; God gave Henry McNeal Turner a dream that the African Methodist Episcopal Church would have a presence in Africa; God gave Bishop John Bryant a dream that we would have African Methodism on the continent of Asia, particularly in India; God gave Martin Luther King, Jr. a dream in 1963, that one day we would live in a country where people are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character; and the dream was partially realized in 2008, when Barack Obama became the first African American President in the United States of America. We serve a God who still gives dreams!!!
Joseph received the dream; the mistake he made is he shared the dream with the wrong people.
You got to be careful with whom you share your dream. God is a dream giver, but some people are dream killers! Dream killers have no idea what their dreams are. So they expend a lot of energy trying to sabotage yours. Look at the energy Joseph brothers spent trying to sabotage his dream. They came up with an elaborate plot to kill him which means they had to stop grazing the flock which is why their father sent them out in the field in the first place. They came up with a lie to tell their father when he inquired what happened to Joseph. They stripped him of his robe. They threw him in a pit. Then they had a change of mind and took him out of the pit. They came up with another plan which was to sell him to a caravan of Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt. If we would spend as much, or more energy trying to discover our dreams, rather than plotting to destroy someone else’s dream, we would be a lot closer to fulfilling ours! To try to suck the air out of some one else’s dream is to implicitly admit: I don’t have a dream of my own.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to get a routine oil change. And, as they usually do, they checked my tires too. The fellow came to my window and said: “Haven’t you noticed you’re riding kind of rough?” I said “yeah.” He said: “Your tires are a few inches low. Whenever your tires are low, it’s going to affect the performance of your ride.” Some of you have poor performance as you move toward your dreams. That is, if you are moving at all. You may be on a flat because you have allowed the dream killers to suck the air out of your dreams. Don’t let the dream killers sabotage your dreams!
We ought not to allow our dreams to be killed off because dreams give life excitement. Show me a man without passion and I will show you a man without a dream. I’ve been in prisons and I’ve seen faces without smiles, eyes where the twinkle is gone, attitudes and outlooks that were cynical and pessimistic.
I’ve been to nursing homes and I’ve seen faces saddened by the reality that Mother Nature and father time have taken their toll and now left a dream, a biological impossibility.
I’ve been to psych wards where they rather not deal with the reality that their dreams are gone; so they stay in a state of mind to protect themselves from the pain. I guess I’m supposed to see that in these places, but unfortunately what I described there is just as prevalent in the Church.
Every so often, we see that commercial for 5 hour energy. It is advertised literally as energy in a bottle. But if you want your energy back, if you want your passion back, 5 hour energy is not the answer. Discover your dream! God has a dream for every person, for every church.
“I know the plans I have for you… And it is not to hurt you or harm you, But to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
We can fulfill our dreams; we just have to know how to deal with the dream killers. The first way to deal with a dream killer is to know they cannot stop us. They are just detours. Several weeks ago, I was watching the Final Four in College Basketball. The Louisville Cardinals were playing Wichita State. Louisville was behind in the first half. But what made matters a lot worse was that one of their key players, Kevin Ware, came down on one of his legs in a very awkward way and suffered a very gruesome injury. He broke his leg to the extent that the bone actually came through the skin. His teammates and his coach cried and I suspect that some thought it was the end to a “good ride.” But, young Mr. Ware looked up at his teammates, who were gathered around him and said: “Don’t worry about me; win the game.” Not only did they win that game, they went on and won the championship game. They knew it was a detour and not a stop sign. When God gives you a dream, sometimes your detours are perceived as dream killers, but your detours are not denials. Joseph was thrown in a pit, detour; he was sold into slavery, detour; he was accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, detour; he was thrown into prison, detour; he could have gotten an early release had the cupbearer kept his promise and said a good word for him in exchange for Joseph interpreting his dream; when the cupbearer got out, he forgot Joseph, detour; but when Joseph found favor with the Pharaoh for interpreting his dreams, he became the Pharaoh’s second in command – he finally fulfilled his God given dream! Sometimes the direct route to our destination is cut-off and we have to go through some detours, but those detours are not denials. What God promised you, he surely is able to perform. Although you experience some detours, you can still make it to your destination.
Missed out on an opportunity, detour; failed the first time at achieving your dream, detour; thought you’d be further along than you are, detour…Whenever I fail to listen to my GPS, it will say to me “recalibrating.” Your detours are not God’s way of saying, “You never will.” It’s God’s way of recalibrating-taking you to another route.
Secondly, you have to know you have God’s favor. I heard a preacher tell a story about traveling with Rev. Jesse Jackson. Everybody knew Jesse, but they didn’t know him. So, when the day came for them to attend this highly sensitive diplomatic meeting, the preacher was concerned. When they got in line, he saw a few being turned away and he really got worried. So, when they got up to the door, Jesse blurted out to the security at the door, “He’s with me,” and the doorman let him in. He was a nobody, but he had favor because he was with Jesse.
Joseph had favor. He was the only one who wore the ornamented robe- Favor! He, an Israelite but became an attendant in Potiphar’s home (who was an Egyptian) – Favor! The Pharaoh made him, though an ex con, second in command in Egypt – Favor! I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to fulfill my dreams, I need God’s favor. I don’t need luck, I don’t need the horoscope, I don’t need a fortune teller, I need God’s favor!
No matter how his brothers conspired, no matter how treacherous the lie of Potiphar’s wife, no matter how ungrateful the cupbearer was, they could not stop Joseph because Joseph had God’s favor. Dream Killers will try to stop you. Sometimes they are people, sometimes they are circumstances. But just know you are going to get there because you have God’s favor.
Lastly, you’ve got to learn how to wait. Every time I go to the doctor, for whatever reason, they make me go to a waiting room. I never go right in to see him. I wait. They make me wait 15, 20, 25 minutes, sometimes more. Sometimes I have the nerve to look at my watch and I get mad. But there is a history of God’s people having to wait. Abraham and Sarah waited at least 25 years for Isaac; the Israelites waited 40 years for deliverance; Israel waited 400 years from the New Covenant to the Old Covenant; Joshua waited 7 days before the walls of Jericho fell; Jesus made Mary and Martha wait 4 days before he raised Lazarus; the world waited 3 days before Jesus conquered death; sometimes you’ve just got to wait.
I was mad a few times at the doctor’s office until God gave me this revelation: the doctor is not on your time, you are on his. Sometimes we forget we are on God’s time. Joseph could have gone the express route to his position in Egypt, but that wasn’t God’s time. Sometimes, for whatever reason, God will put you in the waiting room before your appointment. And, Joseph’s brothers should have been glad Joseph was in life’s waiting room, because if Joseph had got there on the express route, there would have been “hell to pay.” But in the waiting room, God built character, and made him more loving and forgiving. So much so, that when he finally came in contact with his brothers, rather than killing them, he wept for them. Aren’t you glad today that God put you in a waiting room before your appointment with some folks? The Enslavement, a waiting room; Potiphar’s house, a waiting room; prison, a waiting room. God gave you a dream; you are destined to be more than what you are.
You are the head and not the tail, You are above and not beneath You are a lender; and not a borrower You are a victor; and not a victim
There’s greatness in you. But sometimes before the appointment there is a waiting room. Your failure, a waiting room; your lost opportunity, a waiting room; your sickness, a waiting room; your enemies’ roadblocks, a waiting room; your troubles, your tribulations, a waiting room! But, just as my appointment was a guarantee that I would see the doctor, your dream from God is a guarantee of its fulfillment if you wait on God and trust God.
They that wait upon the Lord Shall renew their strength They shall mount up on wings like eagles They shall run and not get weary,They shall walk and not faint. Wait on Him! Wait on Him! Wait on Him!
“Beams of Heaven as I go Through this wilderness here below Guide my feet in peaceful ways Turn my midnights into days I do not know how long twill be Nor what the future holds for me But this I know, If Jesus leads me I shall, I shall, I shall Get home (to my destination) one day!”
Reverend Darryl R. Williams, Pastor St. Mark A.M.E. Church 1616 West Atkinson Ave. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53206 Office: (414) 562-8030 Fax: (414) 562-1109 Email: darryl.williams. firstname.lastname@example.org