Living the Dream - Study Guide

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

Living the Dream

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 21 January 2018 at Ashburton Baptist Church.

Readings: Genesis 37: 2-11; Acts 2: 16-17

I Have a Dream

“One of the great gifts is to be captivated by a God given dream. To receive a compelling picture of the work to which we need to be giving our lives.”

Martin Luther King Jnr was able to articulate clearly and with colourful pictures his dream.

What are some of the words and pictures you’d use to portray your greatest dream?


Triangles: Jacob-Joseph-his brothers


“But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.”

Genesis 37: 4

How familiar are you with this ‘triangulation’?

Any experiences of favouritism in your home or work place?

How has this affected your relationships?

How does one break free from this experience?



A Dream Given

“Well it’s to this spoilt brother that God gives a dream. And instead of pondering it in his heart, he brags about it to his brothers.” (Gen 37: 6-9)

How do we best bear a dream with humility and wisdom?

Dreams Divide

“The dreams that God gives are dangerous. Dreams can divide families. Dreams disturb faith communities. Dreams threaten the existing order. Because dreams point to new ways, not business as usual.”

Even if you bear a dream with humility, how do you cope with the divisive power of a dream? Got any examples of how dreams have divided and how you have managed to maintain a sense of community and peace?

Rebelling Against the Dream

They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him.

Genesis 37: 18

“Here comes the dreamer, let us kill him.”

Genesis 37: 19-20

What are the faith resources that help you to live in the face of rebellion or opposition towards a dream that you are casting?

How are you coping with the pressures of advancing a dream? Got examples to share?

The Dream Shared

Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph… 

Genesis 39: 1-2

“This is the first mention of God in the whole story. There are no more dramatic encounters like when God appears to Abraham and God speaks to Isaac and God intervenes with Jacob. All we’ve got is this: ‘The Lord was with Joseph.’ No blinding lights. No remarkable miracles.”

Is this basic faith assurance enough for you?

In what ways are you content with this level of God’s involvement in your life?

In what ways do you long for more?

Rags to Riches and then Rags

Joseph is sold off by his brothers but he later finds himself rising in the courts of Potiphar’s palace. Potiphar’s wife makes actions that lead to Joseph’s demise.

“He’d passed the test magnificently only to be rewarded by losing his job and his freedom. The life of a dreamer is never hazard free. Sometimes like Joseph we bring suffering upon ourselves. His arrogance led to him being stripped and sold off. His pride led to his fall. Other times we suffer because of the evil of others. Like Joseph, our robe is smeared by the lies of others and torn because of the ambitions they crave.”

How do we cope when our plans are overturned?

How do we respond when we’re dropped in a well?

What resources are we given when we are wrongfully locked up in a prison?

On the Rise Again

Joseph eventually becomes PM and he exercises his dream of feeding, alleviating hunger, saving many from famine and bringing about reconciliation.

What intrigues you most about the twists and the turns in the Joseph story?

But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you meant it for evil, God intended it for good.”

-          Genesis 50: 19-20

What is the grace, the hope and the mystery in Joseph’s actions and in his words to his brothers?

Any verse or element in this Joseph story that is most pertinent to you at the moment?

Prayer for Each Other

That we will receive God’s dream for our lives and our church, grow in clarity and humility as we bear it.

That we will be strong in the face of those who resist God’s dreams,

That we will know the assurance of God’s presence with us especially in the periods of confinement.

That we will maintain the hope that God’s purposes will be worked out for good.