Trading in your dreams for another’s

dreams 2People nearing mid-life often crash into some startling and unexpected observations. For instance, we all dreamed big dreams when we were younger. But as we move at a break-neck pace through our twenties, thirties, and forties, we eventually slam head on into the realization that some of our dreams will never be realized.

That observation throws some people into a mid-life crisis. Some don’t make it that far with their aspirations, having already given them up somewhere along the way. Some run into conflict that makes them weary and they settle for less. Still others make bold decisions to trade one dream in for another.

That’s what Joseph did. Talk about dreams! He had some big ones. At seventeen he dreamed his ten older brothers would bow down to him. It’s enough he dreamed that dream. What makes it worse is that he told his brothers about it.

The older brothers already had issues with the younger son. Their father favored Joseph. He had even given him a valuable, multi-colored coat. That’s the modern-day equivalent of a parent of four teenagers giving one an iPhone and the other three a stack of quarters each for a pay phone (assuming they could find one on their travels). The brothers banded together and tossed the dreamer in a ditch, eventually selling him into slavery at the first opportunity. The next thing Joseph knew he was waking up in Egypt.

From there his life was a rollercoaster thrill ride. One minute a slave. The next in charge of an Egyptian official’s house. The next in prison. The next in charge of the prison. Then he found himself in front of Pharaoh, called upon to interpret the leader’s dreams. With God’s help he was able to warn Pharaoh he would have seven years of abundant crops that he should be put in storehouses in anticipation of seven years of famine. Recognizing his wisdom, Pharaoh put Joseph second in command of all of Egypt.

And because of God’s personal involvement in his life, he was was able to save his family. The same family that God was building dreams 3into a nation. Joseph was in position to bring his family to Egypt and give them the most fertile land to work. And it was definitely fertile. In the time they were there they were “fruitful and increased greatly” (Exodus 1:7).

Joseph could have lost his life getting caught up in the details of his life, chasing his dreams and desires. Instead, he chose a better story. God’s story.

You can do the same. If your life’s dream has stalled, look to God. If your dream now realized is not all you thought it would be, look to God. He can give you another dream. A better one, not according to the world’s standard but God’s criterion. Just like Joseph’s. Then you’ll have a story to tell.

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When the last in line gets chosen for the team

old couple 2The casting agent enters the room with her top picks for the show’s leading man and lady. The new series will follow the spellbinding story of a clan that builds a powerful, world-impacting family tree. This is the pilot, and it is crucial to make the right call on the individuals who will fall in love and launch this Kennedy-like family of influence and fame.

Producers and writers alike have waited breathlessly for this moment, the moment when who they have envisioned as the leading characters will be finally realized in an actor and actress. But when they turn to see who has been tapped for these most special of roles, the thud of their collective jaws hitting the majestic mahogany conference table muffles their mutual groans.

There before their wide eyes, instead of the expected vibrant, young couple with gleaming white teeth and tanned and toned bodies, stand a 75-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman. Not what they had pictured for their production.

And yet, this is what God has chosen. His screenplay called for a couple to launch a new nation, one that would impact the entire world. As he would say, a nation through whom “all the nations of the earth would be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Abram and Sarai stand there, adorned perhaps by dusty old robes and crowned with wispy white hair and loosely fitting skin and as befuddled as anyone else. God chose them to begin a nation. An unlikely pair, especially after factoring in the fact that Sarai was barren. How could God expect to start a nation with a woman who could not bear children?

To complicate the story line, it will be 25 more years before they actually have their child of promise. By that time Abram and Saraiold couple will be 100 years old and 90 years old, respectively (and their names will be changed to Abraham and Sarah). Perhaps Social Security checks will help this special couple decorate the baby’s tent and they’ll be able take naps when the baby does. And the rest, as they say, is history. His story.

God picks people you and I wouldn’t necessarily select to take part in his story. In fact sometimes we are shocked who plays the starring roles in his stories. Unlike the way we do business, he taps people, not merely because of their abilities, but for their availability. God searches for people who are open to be used by him. Since he uses only those who are willing to be used for his purposes, there is no doubt that it is he who is doing the the wonder- working. Let there be no doubt, throughout history he is the one making things happen.

That’s good news, isn’t it? In the business world, you may not have a great pedigree. In academics, you may not be a Rhodes Scholar. You may not have a lot of money and you may have average looks. But you may be sitting in a pretty good position to be a top pick for God’s work.

People are talking!

 

people talking 3Here’s what New Venture people are saying about The Story.

 

·        Interesting

·        Stimulating

·        It was fantastic, this journey is going to be an eye opener, reading God’s word and establishing a relationship with Him. That’s only just the beginning.

·        Foundational

·        I got something new out of the story I have heard/read many, many times.

·        Great start on a fantastic journey

·        Hopeful

·        Great start to a great series

·        Fascinating.  It truly peaked my interest.  Even with knowing the story of creation, I found myself asking, “What happens next?”  It was like the end of the old “Batman” TV series, “Will Noah survive the frightful flood waters?  Tune in next week… same Bible time… same Bible station!”

·        Stimulatingpeople talking

·        A spiritual version of jolt cola

 

The story is a condensed, chronological study of the Bible. In this church-wide adventure we are discovering how our story fits with God’s story so that we might have a story to tell.

 

You as well as your friends and family are invited to join us as we explore The Story of God and discover how all the little pieces fit together into the big picture of God’s design.

 

Sundays, 10:00 AM, 530 Courthouse Rd, Richmond 23236

Write Your Life Chapter Into the Story of Life

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If you think Genesis is just a band from the ‘80’s . . .

If you think it was Dr. Dolittle who took two of each animal into a big boat . . .

If you think an epistle is a woman married to an apostle . . .

. . . you may need to know more of The Story.

You may be a bit intimidated by the Bible. You’re not alone; many people are. And no wonder, its pages mention odd names like Jehoshaphat and Nebuchadnezzar. It contains accounts from places you probably never heard of, like Sinai and Samaria. And it seems to be made up of a lot of different, seemingly unrelated stories. But it really is one big, exciting story.

You can see it easily if you open your Bible to the beginning and then flip all the way to the end.

The first words found in Genesis 1:1 read: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Then, if you turn all the way to the back of the book, Revelation 21:1, you find, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . .”

In the beginning God is creating the heavens and the earth. At the end he is creating a new heaven and a new earth. So the big question is this: “What on earth happened between the beginning and the end of the Bible?” If you can answer that question you will have uncovered the one seamless story of God.

Why not read God’s story with your family this year? Studies indicate if the extent of your child’s exposure to things of the faith is only a weekly visit to church or Sunday School, the likelihood is very great that when she graduates and leaves home her relationship with the Lord will turn cold.

However, if you as a parent engage your children in the experience of reading and discussing the Bible, chances go up astronomically that they will remain strong in their faith after leaving home. You don’t have to be an expert or have all the answers. You just have to be willing to experience it with them.

Get involved in The Story of God. It will forever transform your life and your family’s life. Every day God is seeking to guide you, forming sentences that flow into paragraphs that over time write the chapter of your life––a life committed to knowing him better.

Will you choose today to take your life chapter and make it a part of the Big Story of what God is doing on earth?

For resources or more information on The Story call the New Venture Christian Church ministry center, 378-7727.

The Story begins February 9, 10:00 AM, NVCC, 530 Courthouse Rd, N Chesterfield 23236