Summer Growth Spurt! Joseph – A story of forgiveness!
Forgiveness Next Step #2: Move forward in faith!
Team Selah announcement from Mark Siebert
Would you say thank you to these folks for giving up their time on behalf of this church? What’s your criteria for a church? Don’t you want to be a part of a church where people pause and listen to God? Wouldn’t you have great confidence in a leadership that says – we just want to do what God says to do? I want you to meet someone in the Bible who also paused and listened to God! Turn in your Bibles today to Genesis 45:25. God will speak to you in many ways. I find He speaks most often to me through His word! Raise your hand if you need a Bible? One of our six Core Values at Westerville Christian is “We give because God gave first!” Nothing shouts the love of God better than generosity! Generous people make sacrifices. Here’s where you folks have been generous again! This past week was VBS - Kingdom Rock - learning to Stand Strong for God. Kids were challenged to bring school supplies and they did. 1633 crayons, pencils, markers! John Chilcote & Rob McCabe took one for the team. If the kids raised $2000, which they did, $2,022.55 to be exact) they would be duct taped to the wall and hosed down with a fire hose! Ben, Shaina and Chaia will leave for the Cleveland Clinic on July 3. You folks gave them $1271. Ben says thanks. I do too. Allow me to put seven names on the screen (Hannah & Rebekah Hoffman, Maryn & Griffin Zavislak, Abby Williams, Amy Isenberg, & Emily Corner) These seven sold cow theme sweets a couple of weeks ago and your generosity netted $1,497.36. $1500 will purchase 1 bull and 2 cows for the Mushayamunda Village in Zimbabwe. Thank you for being generous with your money. Could I also get a few of you to be generous with your time? Westerville’s July 4 Independence Day parade is this Thursday. Look at this banner. I need 25 people to pass out Freezie Pops this Thursday. You can sign up by going to the My WCC Page on our website at (www.westervillechristian.org) just let us know you are coming!
So here we are! The culmination of nine weeks of teaching on forgiveness. How are you doing with forgiveness? I encouraged you last weekend to take a “forgiveness next step.” Realize that life is unfair. Understanding that this world is unfair puts forgiveness in perspective. Let’s take a second forgiveness “next step!” Move forward in faith! For four weeks we’ve studied Joseph. Today we look at Joseph’s father, Jacob. Turn to Genesis 45:25. (Read 25-46:1a)
I wonder if Jacob considered leaving 10 of his sons behind! Picture his swing of emotions. On one hand Jacob is ecstatic! My son Joseph is alive. This is great. Thank you for telling me. Wait a minute. What do you mean he’s alive? 22 years ago you brought me his special coat covered in blood. You led me to believe an animal devoured him. You watched me grieve for days and said nothing. Can you imagine the mixture of emotions Jacob must be feeling? On one hand he’s thrilled that Joseph is alive, but on the other hand – how disappointed must he be in his own sons!
Just over a year ago a man named Robert Best walked into the home of Alan Dillman. Robert came to kill both Alan and his wife. Here’s the reason why. Dillman’s 16 year daughter Grace was angry with her parents because they disapproved of her online relationship with Robert Best! Best was sentenced to eight years in prison. His sentence was reduced primarily because of Alan Dillman’s testimony. He said this at sentencing, “I’ve forgiven Robert for his attack. While I’m convinced his intentions were evil, I also believe he’s simply a lost soul looking for some direction and meaning in his life.” Who do you think would be harder to forgive? Robert Best or your daughter for disabling the security system and leaving a door unlocked so Best could get in.[i]
How disappointed Jacob must be with his 10 sons! But that was then and this is now. If you are struggling with forgiveness take Jacob’s forgiveness next step! Move forward in faith! Jacob did and so did Cody! Watch this! (Cody’s Story video 3:36) Cody’s obstacle was his legs. Alan Dillman was stabbed and betrayed. Jacob’s own sons lied to him. Have your dreams been crushed because of what someone did to you? We let people. We let circumstances hold us captive. Unforgiveness – whether that be a person, ourselves or God will crush your dreams. So what do you do? Move forward in faith! But how Greg? How do I move forward in faith? Jacob shows us how. Go back to Genesis 46:1! (Read 1) Beersheba was a special place to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Look at Genesis 21:33. Do you think Jacob actually went to that tree? There are certain places in this world that connect us to God. I hope one of them is right here. But it can’t be just here. One of mine is Round Lake. Duane is leaving today. I’m leaving next Sunday. But why go? Because there I seek God! If you want to move forward in faith – seek God’s guidance. Are you facing a big move? Do you have a critical decision to face? Seek God! Fast! Pray! Create a Beersheba. Where is your Beersheba? Innis Woods, Sharon Woods, your basement closet, bedroom, porch or car? A place where you can go and seek God.
Mine is not only Round Lake, but mine is also my car! I’ve had a few people ask me if I’ve lost weight and I have. Not as much as I want, but I’m getting there. The main reason I’ve lost weight is because I walk. But I don’t walk for physical exercise. I walk and pray. I pray about what I read in the Bible that I read in my car! Because I have found that seeking God means you just might hear from him. Jacob did. Go to verse 2. (Read 2-3)
What’s the big deal about going to Egypt? Jacob is leaving behind everything that’s familiar. He’s leaving the land of his birth! Genesis 47:9 tells us Jacob is 130 years old. I have found that most people, especially old people are not much interested in change! Did you notice that God sometimes calls him Jacob and other times God calls him Israel? That’s because Jacob is a person, but Israel is a nation. Verses 8-27 list the descendants of Jacob. Verse 27 says there are 70 total people. Look at this picture. The Denorme children. And they are in Bondurant, Wyoming! That’s one dinky town (Pop. 100) and Israel is one dinky nation (70)! Look at this map! This group of 70 leaves Hebron and travels 25 miles SW[ii] to Beersheba. I love this warning sign: "All unattended children will be given an espresso and a free kitten." Beersheba is a warning sign. It’s like driving out of Ohio and into Indiana. Once you leave Beersheba you’d better be gassed up and ready to go because there’s no turning back. Jacob has multiple reasons for being afraid. The travel will be grueling. Several days of desert traveling. Gwenn Denorme told me they traveled 5671 miles in 15 days. They spent 106 hours in the car. Jacob is not the only leaving Canaan. The nation of Israel is leaving Canaan. No Israelites will occupy Canaan for the next 430 years. God will not be present. Jacob worships one God. The Egyptians worship multiple gods. The Egyptians appear sophisticated. These Israelites look like the Clampetts! Will they fit in? God tells Jacob NOT to be afraid! It’s one thing to hear from God. It’s altogether different to actually do what God says! Do you want to move forward in faith? Then take God at His word! Take God at his word when it comes to forgiveness. Please watch this. (It’s Not About the Nail video)
It’s about the nail! Some things are obvious. Maybe the main reason we are not growing as Christ followers is our fear. Or our refusal to forgive! It’s time to move forward. Find Genesis 46:28. What is Jacob’s main motivation for going to Egypt? Read 28-29. Jacob wants to see Joseph. Nothing is going to prevent him from seeing his son. Do you want to see Christ Jesus? Do you want to be in his presence? Do you want to hear from him? Truth is, we have already heard from him. Jesus said, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus said, “Forgive them. For they know not what they are doing!” To forgive means to cancel the debt! To let it go! To send away! To erase! Take God at his word when it comes to forgiveness. If you do – you’ll be free!
Do you ever have trouble losing things? I often lose my keys. I also lose my joy. If you want to get your joy back then seek God, listen to his voice and take him at his word.
[i] Columbus Dispatch, Man sentenced for stabbing teen girlfriend’s father, June 21, 2013
[ii] John MacArthur, MacArthur Bible Commentary, 73