The Lord longs to heal us in multi-dimensional ways. Will we respond to the invitation found in His healing presence?
Good morning. Happy Pi Day and welcome to our online service. If this is your first time with us, we would really like to connect with you and welcome you. If you have your phone nearby, one way to do that is just text C Stone Guest to 97,000 and someone from our community will reach out and connect with you. If you’ve been with us for a while, maybe you’ve been hesitant to share about your church or your faith, let’s have a breakthrough moment right now. Just click that share button and share this service with a friend or a loved one.
I’m here to share all about our Easter festivities that are coming up. It’s less than a month away. First, we’ll be having our annual Good Friday service online at noon on Friday, April 2nd. This is a really somber and intimate service. Pastor Terry will be leading us in a time of worship, communion, and just a time of reflection on all that the Lord has sacrificed us. All that Jesus sacrificed for us. We hope that you will join us.
As It Is Written, we have hope. We won’t stay somber for too long because on the same day, Friday, April 2nd. We’ll actually be debuting our original Easter musical As It Is Written. We really hope that you will join us for this. This is a perfect thing to invite your friends and your loved ones to. Whether it’s someone who has been exploring their faith, someone who has recently walked away from their faith, or just someone who hasn’t heard the good news yet. We encourage you again to invite one, two, three, or more people or even consider hosting an online watch party.
Speaking of watch parties, we’ll actually be hosting an in-person watch party of As It Is Written on Easter Sunday, 10 A.M. at Riordan. Space is limited, so just keep an eye out for more details. Finally, we’ll be having a special Easter Sunday service hosted by Pastor Terry, 9 A.M. or 11 A.M. on our usual platforms. This is one of our favorite services of the year because we really get to just enjoy, delight in, and celebrate in the hope and the life of our risen savior. Again, we encourage you to invite friends, family, loved ones, and we’ll see you online on Easter Sunday. That’s it for our Easter festivities.
Let’s engage this time of worship with our hearts open, attentive to God, inviting Him to speak in the one whose love comes down no matter the circumstance. Mountain high or valley low in our lives we know you are with us. You are God with us. We turn to you at this time. It doesn’t really matter what season. We’re going to do it. We’re going to do it in your name. We’re going to do it with joy because you deserve it. Thank you, God. Good to see you all this day. Let us enter in. Let us continue in our time together.
Welcome to our weekend service. My name is Sam Marcum. I’m one of the associate pastors here at Cornerstone SF. I’m excited to be able to have this opportunity to greet you today. As you probably know, we’re well into this new year and heading towards Easter weekend. There are a few things we wanted to let you know in advance so you can be ready and know what your options are for that weekend.
First, on Friday, April 2nd, we’re going to be having our traditional Good Friday service at noon. This is an intimate time of worship and communion led by Pastor Terry as we reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This will be available on all of our platforms; our website, on Facebook, and on YouTube. We wanted to give you plenty of advance notice so the next time you’re in the grocery store or placing an order online, you can go ahead and get your communion supplies ready for that.
Secondly, I’m very excited about this. We are going to be debuting our Easter musical As It Is Written on Friday, April 2nd on Good Friday again at 7 P.M. If you tune in right at 7 P.M. there’s going to be some special Friday night bonus features for the premiere stuff. It’ll be available on-demand after that. This is the perfect thing to invite others into. If you have a loved one who hasn’t yet heard the good news or someone who is exploring what faith looks like or someone who has walked away from God, this musical is designed to reach them.
If you want a digital invite package you can find that on our website. Think about who you want to send the link to or better yet, have a virtual watch party and watch with them. Speaking of watch parties, we are going to be throwing or having a watch party of the musical on Easter Sunday at 10 A.M. at the Riordan Theater. We’re asking people to register in advance just so we can make sure we have all the safety things in place and plenty of room to spread out. We’ll be wearing masks. We’re going to have the doors open for good air circulation but we’ll get to be in that theater environment to be able to watch the musical on the big screen with one another. We’ll be able to wave at one another, greet one another on that Easter Sunday time together. If you’d like to join us, again, please register online.
Finally, on Easter Sunday we’ll also have a very special online message and service from Pastor Terry. This is always one of our favorites as we celebrate the life and hope found in our risen savior. Consider joining us at 9 or 11, our usual service times, and on the usual platform. Again, on our website, Facebook, and YouTube for a special Easter Sunday celebration.
Next, we’re going to hear Pastor Terry sharing a message on healing. What a blessing to be able to share this time with all of you. If you are joining us for the first time, I am Pastor Terry. I’m the lead pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. I realize these past months and even these recent weeks have still continued to be a challenge for us as we are walking through what seems to be almost a rollercoaster. It’s just hard to live in such a time of uncertainty. Many are afraid. Many are hurting and some are frustrated, some are angry. I don’t know where you are but I do know that the Lord’s will for all of us is to have dimensions of breakthrough so that we are increasingly well.
I pray that for our whole nation. I pray it for our city, I pray it for our church, and I pray for you and me. It may be true that we need breakthrough in our relationships right now. It might have to do with something spiritual, something that is physical, or something that we’ve just dropped into at a mental or emotional level that we find ourselves at a real dip and we’re not doing well. Some of us are doing okay. That’s great. I know that all of us are making this journey together, though. This teaching on breakthrough is going to be for us connected to our examination of the life of Joseph as it is recorded in the book of Genesis. It’s been a narrative that we’ve been sitting in now. In and out of the past year and I think it’s been so appropriate for us to do that.
I’m going to forever connect this time with the account of Joseph. The times that we were all reminded of the beauty of resilience. What it means to go up and over. How we are invited to contend for breakthrough and trust God that even in the places that are most difficult and challenging for us, God can bring good. We’re just going to look at that and allow, I hope, the Lord to speak to our hearts. Let me pray. Lord, even now, I ask that you would make this word come alive for us, speak to us, we welcome you in. You know where we need it most. I just want to say, Lord, I want to be open to you, to your words and promptings, your goodness and grace. Lord Jesus, in your name, we pray it. Amen.
I want to pick up where we left off last week. I want to build on the narrative, sit with the moment that none of them could have seen coming, no one envisioned it. Neither Joseph nor his brothers could have imagined it happening. All of them, the 10 brothers and Joseph had assumed that they would never see each other again. The brothers just assumed Joseph had died a pitiless death in some Egyptian slave pit. They could not undo in their mind the evil they had done, that would never happen. The stain, I’m sure they were convinced could never be washed away. It was a guilt unshakeable. As real to them as the desert setting sun.
What of Joseph? Joseph also believed that his old life was gone forever. For one, he couldn’t even go back if he wanted to. He wasn’t that free but he was no longer a slave. That is true but he had risen to a place of unimaginable influence and power. Joseph was now in his new life of his, managing a sophisticated economic program. He was a high level, second only to the Pharaoh, official. His old life had been obliterated. The years were lost but he was content with a family of his own. As I said, Joseph was responsible for the survival of countless human beings as he managed the Egyptian food supply. That was now at this moment not only feeding the Egyptian people but also the surrounding nations.
One could make the case that ministries like New Samaritans person, compassion and the Salvation Army, and myriads of other Christian organizations that are committed to food, clean water, and doing good have their roots connected to the example of Joseph, who was raised up by God to feed the nations and help those in need. I think it’s a great connection, isn’t it? Joseph also models other keys for breakthrough. It’s those other keys that I really want us to zero in on and consider implementing for our own life as we transition into this space that we hope will bring about a restoration of many of the things that we enjoyed prior to the pandemic.
I think this is a time of transition. Maybe some of us, while we are in this larger transition, are also finding that there are things that are transitioning in our own life. One of the principles that Joseph is so good at reminding us of is that he just seemed to concentrate on doing God’s will wherever he was. I know it’s a bit of an overused saying but he did. He bloomed where he was planted. It didn’t matter, right? He prospered in the house of Potiphar. He prospered in the prison and in the palace. The three Ps, Potiphar’s house, the prison, and the palace. Wherever he was, Joseph chose to honor God. In so doing, he’s such an example for you and me that there’s no place that we ever will find ourselves that we cannot have the opportunity to honor God and grow.
It’s a great reminder that breakthrough is always going to be connected to identifying and fulfilling God’s will for our lives in the now, not in the yesterday, not in the tomorrow but in the now. How are we doing with that? Remember breakthrough is connected to identifying and fulfilling God’s will for our lives in the now, not in the yesterdays, not in the tomorrows. I can gain inspiration from my yesterdays. I can get inspired about the possibility of tomorrow but the truth is the victory is won when we center ourselves in his plan in the now. In the now, in this present season of our lives. That’s where the breakthrough opportunity really exists.
Another thing to put it right out there is when the lord is involved in our lives, even the broken places, if Joseph teaches us anything, can become the golden places. I know that sounds strange but hear me. It was from Joseph’s painful place that he would be raised up to be a deliverer. He didn’t see it. I’m confident of that. He couldn’t comprehend it. But soon he would. I think if you think of it this way, Joseph, clearly, comprehended that God had helped him rise above what had been a series of disappointments and painful turns. I don’t think he conceived the larger picture of what God was trying to do or use him for. Joseph still couldn’t see that yet. It really is a reminder that sometimes what God is up to is far more than even the blessing that we are seeing.
Sometimes we get a breakthrough and we think, “Oh, thank you, Lord, for this blessing” but what we don’t realize is that that blessing is actually only a small piece of what God is trying to do in an even bigger way. Sometimes only the tip of what is to come. I know sometimes we don’t do it intentionally but we can underestimate God’s ability to do amazing things in our lives. There are some things that appear hopeless and unredeemable and we may wonder, “Wow. How can good ever come from them?” Yet we need to walk with humility before God because sometimes He’s working in ways that we can’t comprehend and He’s bringing good.
I think a lot of us are aware of one of the most famous verses in all the scripture, Romans 8:28. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and those who are called according to His purpose. I love that verse. Much life has flowed out of that verse. I never really thought of it this way before but this is how I would paraphrase Romans 8:28; when we do it God’s way, He will make a way. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are on the call according to His purpose. When we do it God’s way, He will make a way. That’s Romans 8:28 in a nutshell. When we let God have His way, He will make a way.
Let’s return to the scripture and this awesome, amazing moment of reunion. I love it. Genesis 42, when Jacob, the father, learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt because remember they’re in Canaan and they’re realizing they don’t have any food. They could all starve to death but there’s food to buy in Egypt. For some reason, the sons didn’t want to go to Egypt and Jacob finally says, “Look, why are you just sitting here looking at one another?” He said, “Behold, I heard that there was grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.”
Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt but Jacob did not send Benjamin. Benjamin was Joseph’s full brother but also his little brother, the youngest of them all. Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers for he feared that harm might happen to him. It was a risk that Jacob was unwilling to take. He couldn’t be hurt like that. Thus, the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came for the famine was in the land of Canaan, this is in verse 6. Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold grain to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came and they bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.
Recall Joseph was, at that moment, unrecognizable to them. For one thing, he was an Egyptian in every way. I joke about it. He walked like an Egyptian. He talked like an Egyptian and he looked like an Egyptian. We may assume that he even now at this point spoke the language with precision. He was now almost 40 years of age. The last time they had seen him if you think about it, he was 17. He was still a young man. They still remember that moment, I’m sure. Heard his voice, screaming, “Brothers, brothers” as his captors, who they had sold him to, put an iron collar on his neck, and that memory was seared in everybody’s mind.
Joseph had matured. In every way, he was different. They wouldn’t have recognized him. That was something that would have been impossible. It wasn’t conceivable. It’s sort of like when we just don’t even envision something even remotely as a possibility. The last thing they were doing was connecting that this Egyptian was Joseph. It was just so far off of their radar. That’s just impossible. It didn’t even come up. Not even close. Not even a remote feeling that it could have been the case but for Joseph? Now he recognized them. I think he recognized them immediately. They were older but just the same.
What emotions must have rushed through him when his eyes locked upon them and it was just like that and he was back. His memory flashing. He angered the longing, the sadness, and the pain colliding and I would imagine that for a moment he was just stunned, stunned. Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them but he treated them like strangers and he spoke roughly to them, “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “We come from the land of Canaan to buy food.” Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him. Joseph remembered, at that moment, he remembered the dreams, the long-ago dreams that he had dreamed of them. The dreams with them bowing down. The dream that even his father was offended by and had a hard time with. He didn’t understand them at the time. He had been naïve. He had been unthinking. He had been really not able to understand his social EQ. He didn’t understand how he was coming across at the time but now, all of a sudden, all of these feelings and then the memory of those dreams.
He regathered himself and he said to them, “You are spies. You have come. I know what you have come for. You have come to see the nakedness of the land”, by that, he meant, “You have come to see the vulnerabilities that we have here. To be accused of spying, that was no trivial manner. People were executed for lesser crimes. The brothers knew it at that moment, it was a delicate moment. How do you refute a false accusation delivered in a hostile, aggressive manner without being confrontational or in any way, creating a kind of disturbance or pushing back too much defensively? If you do, you run the risk of triggering the anger so you’re in a very tough spot. You have to be able to negotiate that moment. They were all caught off-guard and were very afraid. At the same time, they had to very humbly make the case that this great man was mistaken. You’re mistaken. The brothers said to him, “No, no, no, my lord. No, no. Your servant. We have come to buy food. That’s all. We’re the sons of one man. Yes, we’re honest men. Really, we’re honest men. We have never been spies.”
He said to them, “No, no. It is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” They said, “No, no, no. We are your servants. We are your servants.” I imagine them bowing down, heads dipped. “We’re your servants. We’re 12 brothers. We’re the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, to the north, and behold. The youngest is this day with our father. One of us is no more.” Little did they know, that the one that was no more was the one that was talking to them at this very moment. Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you, I believe you are spies. By this, you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, let him bring your brother. If what you say is true, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you or else by the life of Pharaoh, surely, you are spies.”
He put them all together in custody for three days but then after three days passed, he seemingly changed his mind, didn’t he? I like to think he prayed, pondered, and listened for God. In any case, he softened his request and changed it a little bit. It says, on the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live.” I love the connection between the third day and you will live. It’s something we’re going to be celebrating in a couple of weeks. Joseph says, “I fear God. I honor the creator. If you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody but the rest of you, you can go and carry grain for the famine for your households.” He said, “Just bring your youngest brother to me so I can verify your words that you’re telling me the truth and you shall not die. You won’t perish because of a lack of food. The one that you’ve left behind will live as well” and they did so.
We’re told that verse 24, that it was Simeon, the second oldest stayed. We’re told that something else happened as well and I just find this remarkable. This is then they said to one another, remember, there is an interpreter. We’re not really appreciating that. Joseph is speaking to them in Egyptian. It’s being interpreted back and forth from their language to the language of the Egyptian. In their mind, when they start talking and the interpreter is away, it’s just Joseph listening. They don’t realize that Joseph understands everything they’re saying. In their mind, they’re just talking like you would if someone who spoke another language, from another country, another place, didn’t understand your language and so they’re talking with one another. In their mind, they’re having a free conversation that this Egyptian leader, crazy man, whatever, doesn’t understand and as they’re talking, you can feel the emotion and watch what spills out of them. They can’t contain it.
They say to one another, in truth, “You know it’s true. We’re all guilty concerning our brother. That’s what’s going on here. We saw the distress of his soul when he begged us and we did not listen to him. That’s why this is happening to us. That’s why this distress is coming upon us. That’s what’s happening here. It’s what we did. Ruben joins in and he answered them and he said, “I told you, I told you, didn’t I tell you? Don’t sin against the boy. You didn’t listen to me. Now there’s a reckoning for the blood that is on our hands.” You look and see what’s happening, all the wounds are reopening, after all these years. 22 years, it’s still on their mind and they feel like they’re being judged. I can imagine that conversation breaking out and it’s just flying at one another and they start to argue and blame, “It was you!” They’re going back and forth on it. Joseph is listening. They did not know that Joseph understood them. They did not know because there had been an interpreter between them. He turned away. He couldn’t take it. He started to weep.
Again, if he was, like many of the Egyptians were at the time, especially of that echelon, he would have most likely been wearing the makeup of Egypt. I imagine that as he’s listening to the words of a language he hasn’t spoken for years, and as he’s listening to them the water starts to come and then soon fills and he can’t help it. It overflows and the tears come down and he begins to weep. He has to get out. He begins to weep. Whenever I see Joseph weeping, I’m reminded, it’s impossible I guess not to connect it. It’s kind of a foreshadowing of the one who wept over Jerusalem, of the one who wept over his friend, Jesus wept. The connection of deliverance, weeping, pain, and the injustice of the wounding of his brothers.
Joseph, he’s just overwhelmed. His pain still real. His wound now uncovered. Ah, just like that, it all came back. He must have recovered. It says that he returned to them, spoke to them, looked at this and I imagine some time had passed, Joseph regroups. He took Simeon from them, “Take him.” Bound him before their eyes. Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with the grain. Every man’s money in his sack, they weren’t aware of it and it was going to rock them. He put the money back in their sacks and gave them provisions for the journey. This was done for them. So their sacks are filled with the grain but underneath it is the money that was supposed to have been used to purchase that grain.
Then it says in verse 26, they loaded their donkeys with the grain and left. They departed. Somewhere along the way, when they stopped at the lodging place one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place. He saw his money in the mouth of his sack and he said to his brothers, “My money has been put back. Oh no. Here it is in the mouth of my sack.” It says their hearts failed them and they turned, trembling to one another, and said, “What is this that God has done to us? Simeon is there.” They’re in so much trouble. What they end up finding out is that all of them had their money returned. Oh no. “How are we going to explain this? Now we go back and we’re accused of being thieves, we can’t buy food anymore, we can’t get Simeon. How are we going to get father to give Benjamin?”
It was a disaster. Everything about it. It was all falling apart. When I think of their question, “What is this that God has done to us?” The way they meant it was, “This is a disaster that God is letting befall us” but their question actually was a fair question. It was a little bit more accurate than they realized, wasn’t it? For God was involved. Again, in their mind, how are we going to explain this to father? We can’t go back. We’re going to be accused of being thieves, that we stole the money and the grain. If we don’t go back, they’re going to kill Simeon. Our families may starve to death. How are we going to persuade father to let Benjamin go? Oh God, why are you doing this to us? It was God. He was at work. He was at work in an amazing and intricate way. One of the things that stands out to me, and I just really want us to hear it, is that God was at work at a multi-dimensional level. What’s more than that, he was working on multi-dimensional healing and He still does that.
When we welcome God into certain spaces, places, relationships, and family units, God often heals at a multi-dimensional level. Think about it. God is at work with these men. He wanted to heal them. They are carrying a load of guilt on them. It’s heavy. It’s real. They’ve been living with a lie. They’ve been deceiving their father. They created great pain for their father, not to mention what they had done. It crept up and killed the joy of much of what their life was meant to be. It is true they had learned to separate it, compartmentalize it. We can do that. That was a real thing and God was wanting to heal them. It’s going to be beautiful. God was also at work with Joseph. Right? God was also going to heal him too. You say, well, Joseph? Joseph? He doesn’t need healing. Look at him. He’s come through so much. He’s now the second only to Pharaoh. Look at his life, he’s got chariots, possessions, and a beautiful family.
Yes, but he had a wound inside of him. Sometimes those things, though real, still can’t heal the hurt on the inside. That’s why people who have so much, do amazingly damaging things to themselves because there’s a pain inside that’s so real, so powerful, and so profound. The things that often times are purchased or the amount of money or even the admiration of people can’t heal the wound that’s deep in there. Joseph, although, was in so many ways a model of how to walk through that pain, because he just trusted God. He had a huge trust base and he lived as one blessed. He was not defined by his wound but rather by God at work in his life. That trust carried the day. Yet the wound was still there. We ought not to run past it.
God was going to heal Joseph. He wanted to heal him and He was going to do it. Not only was God working with the brothers, but He’s also going to work to heal them. He’s going to work with Joseph to heal him, and He’s going to work with Jacob to heal him as well. Multi-dimensional healing. Think about it, Jacob is functioning with this idea that somehow he was the one that was responsible for the death of Joseph. It’s so much of the fear of his life. He won’t let Benjamin go. So much of the fear of his life is connected to that trauma of what transpired. He thinks he’s the one because he believes the lie that he was told by his sons. The lie that Joseph was killed by a wild beast. In his mind, he’s the one that’s responsible. If only, if only, if only I had not sent him out that day. If only I had been more careful. It’s the ‘if only’ that haunted him and the fear that defined him. God was going to heal him.
God was simultaneously working to both deliver and grow this family into a nation. It was going to start with healing them. Ultimately, though, that nation would be used to bring forth the greatest multi-dimensional healing. The nation that God was about to shape and form, foundationally, was going to ultimately bring forth the greatest multi-dimensional healer ever, the one who would be far greater than Joseph, who would bless in a far more profound way than nations of the world. I’m talking about Jesus.
God was going to give us through the brokenness. Through all the brokenness God would give us a healer who through his brokenness would heal the world. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have the everlasting, overflowing life of God. Yes, that’s what we’re going to celebrate and honor. We’re going to mark that. We’re going to sit with the cross and rejoice in the resurrection. That’s a little bit ahead of us. I just want to say that history is His story and eternity is His canvas. It really is. I have another thought I want to share before we close.
I want to remind everybody that this is a time of giving. You’ve been amazing, I think you know that. I can remind everybody that you can give as you’ve been doing and tithing your offerings. You can send them to the office. That’s the traditional way. You can give online directly. You can do what I do, give on the app. Like I say, the best thing always is to give with your heart.
Pain can’t destroy. That was true for Joseph and it’s a promise for us too. He is our joy invincible. How good is that? The Lord is a multi-dimensional healer. He wants to heal us at every level. Remember to settle for nothing short of the inheritance we’ve been given in Christ Jesus. Don’t ever, Lord, let us close ourselves off from your healing touch. Let us stay open all the days of our lives. By your grace, Lord, not only may we experience dimensions of healing at every level in our spirit, in our soul, even in our bodies and minds, but may we also by your grace, be wounded healers in your name. Maybe we be blessers and healers in Jesus’ name.
Remember, he’s so good and he’s so God. He wants us to so good and so God. Never forget how greatly loved you are. May we have a fantastic day, week, coming months, and, yes, Easter and beyond. That’s my prayer and blessing to you in Jesus’ name.
Once again Cornerstone. It’s all things Easter in these announcements. On April 2nd, which is our Good Friday, we have two amazing things that Cornerstone will be doing. We’ll be having our Good Friday service at 12 P.M. This will be led by Pastor Terry. It’s just a great way to get our hearts and minds ready for what the meaning is of Easter.
We are going to be kicking off our Easter musical As It Is Written. This is a great opportunity to share and invite friends to come and join you to watch this. Also, we’ll be having a watch party. That’s going to be happening on Easter Sunday at 10 A.M. at the Riordan campus.
Finally, the other thing that’s happening on Easter at 9 and 11, is we’ll be having a special Easter message from Pastor Terry. Make sure that you mark your calendars and we hope to see you there.