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Continuing our “Origins: The Promise” series through the life of Abraham, this past weekend we were joined by Pastor Stephan Tchividjian who shared from Genesis 18. In this message, we explored two distinct conversations Abraham had with God and learned that we have the opportunity to wait for, serve, listen to, learn from, and engage with God.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Stephan’s message this weekend:
We Have the Opportunity to Wait for God (Genesis 18:1–3): Abraham had received a promise from God: He would be the father of many nations. And yet, there was a problem . . . He didn’t have the promised son.
Imagine in your life, God spoke a promise to you, and now, you’re waiting on it to be fulfilled. And as you wait for this awesome promise, life doesn’t stop. In the waiting time, you may be battling all manner of things, you may be walking through trials and hardships and pain. And as you try to stand firm on the promise of God and wait patiently, you see that the waiting is not easy. You see that the in between is taxing and testing. But that’s what faith is all about, isn’t it? Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen. That means you haven’t seen it yet, and you may never see it with earthly eyes . . . but you believe anyway, because you trust in the Promise Maker.
Truthfully, you may pass away before seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises. You may watch Him carry out the promise He made to you from a heavenly perspective. Does that make His promises any less true? No. Does that mean He loves you less? No. Many men and women of faith died before seeing the fullness of His promises fulfilled.
Abraham had to wait for the promise for a great many years, but God proved faithful once again. And in your life, God will always prove faithful when you rely on Him, trust in Him, and wait for Him. And remember, waiting time is never wasted time with God. He is working, building, refining, pruning, and preparing you for the promise. Will you walk patiently alongside Him?
We Have the Opportunity to Serve God (Genesis 18:4–8): It’s an amazing, rewarding, fulfilling, and paradigm-shifting thing when we actually take the time to serve God. So often, we walk through life acting like God exists to serve us. Oh, we may not say this out loud ever; we may not even consciously think this, but subconsciously we have developed this entitled way of living that says, God exists to serve me. And the reality is the Bible says God loves us, He died for us, He is our friend, our advocate, our healer, deliverer, and Savior. And so, our natural bent toward selfishness begins to infiltrate the way we experience our relationship with Him. And pretty soon, the majority of our time spent in conversation with Him ends up being all the things we want from God, all the things we need Him to do for us.
But as we truly begin to approach God and enter into His presence daily, as He works on our hearts, we see a shift. Our attitude changes and the way we experience our relationship with Him changes. Like Abraham did here, we seek to serve God. And when we serve God, when we remove ourselves from the center of our universe, our perspective truly changes. Hope enters into hopeless situations, peace penetrates the chaos, boldness replaces fear, compassion and grace flow out from us like a river. Why? Because He is at the center, He is on the throne in His rightful place in our heart. When we seek first Him and His kingdom and righteousness, all things fall into place.
We Have the Opportuntiy to Listen and Learn from God (Genesis 18:9–21): But isn’t it crazy how hard it is for us to listen? The art of listening truly is tough! Especially in this noisy, busy world we live in. When we choose to wait on God and remove ourselves from the center of our universe, and we begin to serve God, it creates this unique and wonderful opportunity where we’re able to listen to God. And every time we listen to God, we will learn something. We may learn about ourselves, about others, about the world around us, about our culture. We may learn wisdom on how to be a citizen, a good neighbor, a good steward. When we listen to God, we always learn from God.
In this passage, Abraham listens to God and learns about His faithfulness in providing the promised son within the year, and then about His righteous judgment. He invites Abraham to understand His heart and to see His patience, loving kindness, longsuffering, and sovereignty. Likewise, as we draw closer to Him, as we seek to listen, we see how He invites us into the conversation and into deeper relationship.
We Have the Opportunity to Engage with God (Genesis 18:22–31): When we engage with God, we see His grace. It is an unbelievable privilege that God invites us into His world, that He invites us to participate in His redemptive work, and that He invites us into a relationship with Him. We get to be used by God. Our relationship with Him is not a religious experience, it’s not a box to check off that says we fulfilled some sort of requirement. No! It’s not a passive thing, it’s active!
We are God’s instrument of hope in this world, the carriers of the gospel, the vessels through which He reveals the redemption, reconciliation, and restoration we have in Christ. And it’s not because we’re anything special or amazing, it’s because God has filled us and infused us with His Spirit. And so, as we engage with Him, He is able to work in and through us, to use us to accomplish His will and His work.
Quote to Remember: Patience is a weapon that forces deception to reveal itself.—Pastor Stephan Tchividjian
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. Why is it so difficult to wait for God? What lessons have you learned in waiting seasons?
2. How does serving the Lord bless us? How have you seen this truth in your own life?
3. What steps can we take to be better listeners? What steps are you taking today to listen to God more intently?
4. What does it look like to engage with God on a daily basis?
Imagine a city filled with the hope of Jesus . . . Imagine schools, businesses, neighborhoods, families, entire communities walking with Jesus, loving one another, living generously, and radiating the truth of the gospel. Imagine South Florida full of people who are connected to God, one another, and to those in need! That’s what Vision 2023 is all about! It’s a city-changing, five-year vision to make 60,000 new, passionate, fully-devoted disciples by 2023. We believe as God’s people saturate the region with the gospel, generosity grows, stronger families are formed, the elderly are cared for, orphans, addicts, and widows find lasting hope, and true social changes happens. Do you want to see South Florida changed for Christ?
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Join us this Wednesday as Pastor Fidel Gomez of our Hollywood campus dives deeper into God’s conversation with Abraham regarding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s actions and the ramifications of it, and God’s patience and sovereignty over everything. And then at our weekend services, Pastor Chris Baselice of our Plantation campus will share a powerful word from Genesis 19.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.