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How to Recognize a Vision from God (“Different, Harder, Longer, Better”)

John Mark Comer from Bridgetown Church has a sermon entitled: “Different, Harder, Longer, Better” talking about dreams and visions from God, what role God plays in our dreams, and what to expect when we think we have a dream from God. He shares about four aspects to a dream or vision from God: different, harder, longer, better, and how we can see each of those characteristics exemplified in the story of Joseph’s dream beginning in Genesis 37.

Four Characteristics to a Dream From God

Different. Joseph’s dream about his brothers bowing down to him fails to include Egypt, Pharaoh, years of slavery, or even famine in the picture.

Harder. Joseph’s dream and how Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream are not snap decisions from God, just small parts to a hard and tumultuous saga that involves slavery, prison, and famine.

Longer. 22 long years pass from the beginning of Joseph’s dream to the fulfillment of his dream.

Better. Joseph’s dream wasn’t about Joseph at all. Rather, it was about preserving the family line of Israel that would lead to Jesus, the Messiah.


0:57 – Intro, begin recap of Joseph’s story in Genesis 37

2:00 – Joseph’s dream

15:40 – Fulfillment of Joseph’s dream

17:55 – End recap of Joseph’s story

18:26 – “Different”

20:08 – Dreams don’t tell you what’ll happen in the future but how to live today

21:15 – “We think that knowledge is power, and we think that if we know the future then we can control the future, and that if we can control the future then we don’t have to trust God.”

23:10 – “Harder”

24:04 – We romanticize our dreams (slight roast on married + single people)

25:00 – “Best case scenario, you find someone whose sin is kind of an okay fit with your sin” 😂

28:10 – Literary plot, Thor, why life is NOT like commercial plots

32:46 – “Longer”

38:46 – “Better” (by God’s metrics, not human metrics. Stripping our dreams of ego and idolatry).

41:24 – Philippians 4:13 is not about self-help and encouragement, but about contentment.

Dreams for An Asian American Christian

I have dreams for what “An Asian American Christian” could look like in the future, how it can help or encourage others in their faith journey, and how it could give a space for Christianity to be demonstrated in a non white-dominated, Euro-centric context. In fact, one of our readers just messaged back offering to translate our articles into Chinese! (If God has given you any sort of dream or vision regarding the Asian American Christian narrative, please get in touch or think about joining in!) But, if I take what John Mark Comer says in his sermon about “different, harder, longer, better” to heart, I have to be prepared for twists and turns, obstacles and failure through the long haul, and ultimately acknowledging that the fulfillment of this dream could look very different than what I am anticipating now.

Comment below: what’s a dream God has given you, and how much time has passed since?

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One Comment

  1. […] I’m pretty excited about starting this new joint blog with my cousin Laura. I even have some dreams for how it could evolve. Mostly though, I want it to be a sweet spot between something that I enjoy […]

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