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This past weekend, we had an amazing online experience with you! We shared a wonderful time of worship, enjoyed a powerful and timely teaching, and experienced a refreshing time of community while having conversations, praying together, building one another up, and sharing in the Word of God through online groups.
Kicking off “Origins Part 3: The Dreamers,” Pastor Doug Sauder shared a powerful word from Genesis 25 about what we can learn from grief and loss, how to move forward after mourning, and why it’s important to think twice before trading what you need most for what you want now.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:
Genesis is a book about our origins. It’s about where we came from and how we got here. In it, we see where it all went wrong and we get the first glimpses of how God was going to redeem us and restore all things.
Ice-Breaker: What’s one thing you can’t wait to do again when it’s safe and everything is open again?
The world was perfect until sin entered, and with it came death. We see so much beauty in the world, so much of God’s “invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20 NIV). Yet because of sin, we also see so much destruction and disease, and it’s hard for us to reconcile the two.
Last year, we closed out the second part of our three-summer journey through Genesis with the death of Abraham. It’s where we paused, because sometimes we need to pause and reflect on our losses.
Mourning Teaches Us What We Can’t Learn in Celebration: C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” There’s so much truth to this statement. So, why is it that God so often speaks to us in the midst of struggle and suffering, of loss and mourning? Because it often gives us greater perspective and opens up our minds to realities we tend to miss or ignore otherwise. It gives us a sense of empathy. Ecclesiastes 7:2–3 (NKJV) says, “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.”
Discussion Question 1: Why do you believe suffering and loss are such effective teachers?
Discussion Question 2: How have you learned from loss? What has God taught you in moments of mourning?
Pause and Ponder: What have you lost? Will things ever be the same? Will we ever go back to how it was?
You Can Never Go Back, but You Can Go Forward (Genesis 25:21–28): We sometimes think that if we had known, we would have done things differently. But that mode of thinking is unhealthy and only leads to resentment and bitterness about what is because it’s not what could have been—even though we don’t know that what could have been would have been better, we just assume it would be. The truth is we can’t get a redo, but we don’t have to live with a “coulda, shoulda, woulda” mentality because loss, when grieved well, can change your future and help you walk in the purposes and plans God has for you.
Discussion Question 3: What’s one simple step you can take this week to move forward from what you’re mourning or struggling with?
It’s so interesting just how closely Isaac walked in his father’s footsteps and experienced a lot of the same issues, trials, and circumstances. From struggling to have a child to living through a crisis (famine) to struggling with the same sinful flaw (lying).
Pause and Ponder: Friends, consider your parents for a minute. Despite how often the media or movies tries to depict a stark divide and difference between the generations, the truth is we’re not all that different! Yes, the setting may have changed a bit, the world around us may look different than it did for them, but much of the trials and struggles we’ve experienced, they also experienced and walked through to some degree.
We often find that we end up walking through many of the same circumstances as those who came before us. We also find that we inherit (whether born or bred) a lot of the same struggles and flaws as our parents and those who came before us.
While Isaac experienced a lot of the same struggles and circumstances as Abraham, he also got to receive the same promise as Abraham! In Genesis 26:23–25, we see God reiterate to Isaac the promise He made to Abraham—the promise of a great nation, a great land, and great descendants through whom all families of the earth would be blessed! But that didn’t mean his family would be perfect . . .
From the very beginning, in Rebekah’s womb, we see Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac and Rebekah, in conflict and struggle, wrestling with one another . . . and it didn’t stop after they were born, either. On top of that, Isaac and Rebekah didn’t help matters much every time they played favorites. It was definitely a dysfunctional family situation.
Favoritism, jealousy, bitterness, deception, and dysfunction was all at play in a major way in the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but God still worked in them and still accomplished amazing things through this family. There is likely some dysfunction, some issues in your family, going on right now. And they may be magnified by the COVID-19 crisis as you are spending more time with your family in an enclosed space (your home) than ever before with very little contact with anyone else.
This pandemic may have revealed some serious cracks and put a spotlight on unresolved, lingering issues in your marriage and/or parental or sibling relationships. Know that you’re not alone! Even godly families struggle with these things because all families are made up of sinners, dysfunctional men and women. For non-Christian families, it’s a group of imperfect people trying to figure it out and find their way in the world. For Christian families, it’s a group of imperfect people, men and women who still struggle with sin and experience the same issues as non-Christians, trying to honor God and live like Jesus.
Don’t Trade What You Want Most for What You Want Now (Genesis 25:29–34): A triple bacon cheeseburger with smothered fries, a large soda, and an Oreo milkshake for lunch; a pair of $3,000 Jordans; quit my job to pursue a new passion; cheat on my spouse when I have a family. Is it worth it?
It’s important to count the cost of our decisions before we make them. Esau should’ve asked himself, “Is this stew worth my birthright?” But he didn’t. The Bible blames most of what happens here on Esau. Hebrews 12:16 (NLT) says, “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.” He told his brother he was starving. Chances are he wasn’t really dying of starvation. He probably could’ve made himself a meal, but he let his nose and stomach take the wheel. He gave us a perfect example of Philippians 3:19 (NIV), which says, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
Esau’s mind was on earthly, temporary things. He couldn’t see beyond his present need and momentary hunger, and so he settled for instant gratification instead. How often do we do this? How often do we choose the easy route and surrender something amazing the Lord has for us? How often do we fail to count the cost of our decisions? How often do we trade what we need most for what we want now?
How many times in our life do we make one simple choice to satisfy our desire and trade something much more valuable? The truth is at any given moment, we can be one click away from sacrificing our legacy. Right now, you may be reading this and walking through a season in your life where you’re thinking something looks so good that you’re willing to give up your life for it. Is it worth it?
Here’s the reality: If you place your hope and happiness in temporary things, then your hope and happiness will be temporary. While they may suppress our hunger for a brief moment, soon after we’re left hungry again, often feeling emptier than we did before. That’s because only Jesus can truly fill us!
Listen to what the Psalmist declares in Psalm 16:11 (NKJV): “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Friends, everything we’re longing for in this life can be found in Christ alone. In Christ, we can experience the fullness of all God has for us. We have security, power, peace, acceptance, and belonging. We are sons and daughters of Almighty God, and because of that, we’re forgiven, set free, washed clean, made whole. We are rich, lacking nothing.
May we never trade what the Lord has for us in order to indulge in the things of the world. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, our birthright is a little way off, making it hard to see or perceive, all the while the stew of instant gratification is right in front of us. But it’s not worth it; it never is! What God has for us is “much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 BSB).
Discussion Question 4: In what ways can you fight the temptation to compromise? How can you keep yourself from making decisions that will have damaging, long-term effects?
Quote to Remember: It’s important to be in a group where we can confess out loud what we’re thinking and check how it truly sounds.—Pastor Doug Sauder
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
1. Do you think anything good can come out of something bad that happens?
2. Tell me about something that made you sad or mad this week.
3. Is there something that makes you mad or sad all the time (multiple times a day/days per week)? What does God say about that?
4. When something happens this week that makes you mad or sad, what’s one easy thing you can do to help you think about God?
We have several exciting Bible plans available for you to subscribe to! From a reading plan to follow along with our “Origins” series to a plan on experiencing peace, to a few great plans that explore the basics of Christianity, we have a variety of awesome resources for you to grow in your faith and study the Word of God.
To view our reading plans, click here.
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE ONLY.
Join us online this weekend as we continue our study through “Origins: The Dreamers” as Pastor Doug teaches from Genesis 27. Together, we’ll discover why we can’t steal a blessing and what it means to be blessed by the Lord.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
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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.