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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.
Continuing our study through “Origins: The Dreamers,” Pastor Doug Sauder taught from Genesis 28. In this message, we explored the vision that has come to be known as “Jacob’s ladder” and how it points us to the work of God in Christ Jesus. We also explored the generosity and faithfulness of God.
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, family discussion prompts and small 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:
God’s Generosity Is Not Based on Our Worthiness (Genesis 28:3–4): Aren’t you grateful for this fact? In reality, neither Esau—an idolater filled with rage and murder in his heart—nor Jacob—a manipulator and deceiver—were worthy of receiving this incalculable blessing of being the forefather of the people of God and the Savior of the world, and yet God still blesses Jacob and uses him in amazing ways to continue His fulfillment of the promises He made to Abraham. And as we come to find out a few chapters later, He also blessed the life of Esau! You see, God’s generosity, His love, His forgiveness, His favor, and His grace are not earned, deserved, or given based on our worthiness or merit. They are given because of God’s generosity. Romans 5:8 (NKJV) tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Titus 3:3–7 (NIV) declares, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
God Often Gives Dreams in the Middle of the Mess (Genesis 28:10–15): In the middle of our mess, God often reveals where He wants to take us and what He wants to do in and through us. Here in Jacob’s life, we find him on the run, afraid for his life, heading into the unknown. He is literally in a crossroads moment. And it is in this moment that God comes to Jacob and speaks to him.
Why does God so frequently speak to us in these moments where we generally feel the most lost? Because during these seasons, when we feel lost, we are more open to His voice, His call, and His direction.
How has God met you during the difficult seasons of your life?
Worship Is a Response (Genesis 28:16–19): In this desert, a place known for being barren and devoid of life, God appears to Jacob. He is blown away that God would appear to him in this place and names the place Bethel, which means the “House of God.” Jacob says, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (Genesis 28:16 NLT).
Sometimes in life, we can feel that way. Sometimes, when we find ourselves in the midst of challenging, difficult, painful, traumatizing, and seemingly impossible, insurmountable situations we ask, “Where is God in all this?” It’s possible you may have asked and even struggled over this very question over the last few weeks due to the COVID crisis and the unrest that continues to divide and destroy the world. Friends, He’s been with you the whole time! As the song “Way Maker” says, “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working; even when I don’t feel it, You’re working. You never stop, You never stop working.” When we’re experiencing moments of doubt and turmoil, sometimes we just need Him to speak and say we belong to Him, that we’re His son or daughter. Maybe He will speak to us in a dream, when meditate on His Word, or when we turn off social media and just sit still.
When He reveals Himself to us in those moments and we realize He was always there, He expands our view of Him, of His reach, His power, and His love. Those moments of revelation always lead to transformation. And in those moments, the only possible response is worship! You see, these moments draw us closer and give us the grace to carry on. The world around us can still be a mess, but we can worship nonetheless because our eyes are no longer fixed on what’s in front of us but on Him who has gone before us and has promised to never leave or forsake us!
Generosity Is an Act of Worship (Genesis 28:20–22): True generosity flows from a generous God. It’s an outpouring of what He’s poured into us! We give as an act of worship in gratitude for all that God has done for us, in us, and through us. How has God’s generosity affected your life? How are you responding to it?
Quote to Remember: A personal encounter with God can change everything.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: As a kid, what kind of dreams did you have for your life? How did those dreams impact the direction of your life?
Discussion Question 1: This weekend, Pastor Doug showed us how God often gives us dreams in the middle of a mess. In this extremely messy season, as we’ve been faced with a global pandemic, economic hardship, isolation, and the continued atrocities of human injustice, how has God met you? What dreams has He put on your heart lately and what are you doing to pursue them?
Discussion Question 2: What does Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28 show us about God’s faithfulness?
Discussion Question 3: How has God shown His faithfulness and generosity to you in your life?
Discussion Question 4: Revelation leads to transformation. As we see with Jacob, a personal encounter with God can change everything. How are you seeking to have personal encounters with God in this season?
Pause: After receiving this amazing dream from God, Jacob’s first act was to worship the Lord. Take time this week to consider what God has revealed to you this season and spend a few moments worshiping Him. Take time on your own or in your circle to sing and dance and pray and shout!
Ponder: Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of Jacob’s dream. Jesus brought the glory of heaven down to us (John 1:14) and made a way to carry us by His nail-scarred hands into heaven. Who needs to hear about Jesus this week? Who has God put on your heart to have a conversation with this week about the gospel?
Practice: Generosity is worship in action. It’s how we live out Christianity—to become like Jesus and show the love of Jesus to others. This week, show the generosity of Jesus to someone who could use encouragement.
Pray: In your prayer time this week, remember to lift up those who are hurting, affected, or afflicted by human injustice. Ask the Lord to reveal to you how He wants to use you as an agent of change and a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
1. There are a lot of things that happen in the world that make God upset. Do you know where to look to find the things that make God happy? Is there anything you want to change about the world?
2. What is something you have that came from God? It might be more than you think. Make a list of 10 blessings that came from God.
3. Why do you think it’s important to pray, read the Bible, or go to church? The Bible is where we learn about and experience God, so it’s important to spend time reading, thinking about, and talking to others about God’s Word!
Walk It Out: Who can you tell about Jesus this week? Maybe you can even invite them to your Zoom group or Calvary Kids online!
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.
We’re excited to announce that instead of traditional midweek services this summer, we’re encouraging you to get in a small group and build relationships as you dive deeper into the Word. Starting this Wednesday, you’ll get to watch a short sample group experience to get the conversation around our Genesis study going before transitioning into your group. To find a group near you, click here.
Then on the weekend, we’ll continue our study through “Origins: The Dreamers” as Pastor Doug teaches from Genesis 29–31. In this message, we’ll explore the complicated nature of relationships.
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.