Changing and Shaping Decades of Life

On Sunday we asked one simple question. How do you leave a legacy that lasts and lingers into the future? How do you ensure 1161714_36739445that how you are living now matters?

And what we discovered was a simple truth, that the decisions you make today soon become the stories you tell, which become the legacy you leave.

We looked at the story of Joseph and how after being sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and have untold difficulties all because of his family, comes face to face with them again and now he is in power. Joseph has a moment where he can exact justice, and retribution from his family. Instead he chooses grace.

The question is how did he know to do this? This is not natural. Ask any 3 year old about sharing and you’ll discover grace doesn’t come easily. So how did he know to do this? Because he saw it practiced years before. Because he heard stories of it as he grew up. Because one decision by his uncle shaped his life.

We discover in Genesis 33 that Jacob (Joseph’s dad) meets up with Esau after wrecking his life. Jacob steals Esau’s birthright (inheritance, power, and position) and his blessing (his connection and future). Esau is furious and vows to kill Jacob. Jacob runs. But eventually Jacob’s past catches up with him, as it always does. And he is forced to meet Esau. Esau shows up with 400 of his armed men. So Jacob astutely guesses that this won’t be a fun family reunion or picnic. Esau is here to kill him and take everything back that he’s stolen. And so slowly Jacob comes to Esau. But Esau does an amazing and remarkable thing. He gives grace, he forgives, and he makes a decision that shapes generations. And there is a small detail buried in Genesis 33:2 and 7. Joseph is mentioned. Joseph is there. Joseph is part of that moment of grace and forgiveness. We can only assume over the years Jacob telling of Esau’s generosity and forgiveness. As they sit around campfires, and the dinner table sharing about how this one moment changed the destiny of their entire family.

So fast forward decades and we find Joseph in the same situation. And he now knows how to act because of a decision of his uncle. Esau’s decision has echoed into the future and shaped the future of his entire family. It is an amazing thought isn’t it? That one decision can shape generations down the road. But its what the Bible teaches. We landed on this main point: that the decisions you make are the stories you will tell, and the legacy you will leave.

So what kind of decisions are you making? What kind of legacy are you leaving? What if your grandkids, or grandnephews or nieces take their cue from your decision today? Maybe you thinking of giving up, leaving, forgiving, forgetting, or moving on. What if this is the decision that will shape generations?

What it does is make sure that we think about how we are living. Because one thing is for sure, how we live now is leaving our legacy for the future.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: How you are living is the legacy you are leaving

Take Aways…

  • We want lives that matter and last
  • Decisions last and linger into the future
  • Joseph and Jacobs family were dysfunctional
  • We spend time contemplating our hurts, grudges, and desires for revenge
  • Why does Joseph give grace rather than justice?
  • Grace and love don’t come naturally
  • Joseph knows what do to because he’s seen it done
  • Our decision today last decades into the future
  • The decisions you make becomes the legacy you leave
  • The legacy you leave doesn’t start when you die, it starts now with how you live
  • What stories are you living and leaving?

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? Was this take on this passage new? Who has left a legacy in your life? What decisions you’re your past have lingered into the future? What type of a legacy are you leaving? What type of stories will the future generations tell about you?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take your kids and sit down and talk about today’s message. Tell them how you know the decisions you make will affect their futures. Make a vow, a pledge, or a promise in front of them to make the best decisions possible knowing that these are thing that will linger into the future. Promise them to live stories that matter

Challenge for this Week:

Live a legacy worth leaving

Dads, Dedications, and Decisions that Last a Lifetime

295563_10152669437890643_2115517437_nOn Sunday it’s a pretty special day for me as a parent. We are dedicating our little boy Asher. You only get to do that once…well actually we dedicated Hudson twice but that’s a story for another day.

As a pastor this is a really cool moment because you get to preach at your own little man’s dedication. But it also raises the question of what do you preach on at a dedication?

For Hudson, I preached on why I follow Jesus so that when he grows up he can listen to it and understand why mom and dad make the decisions we do. But on Sunday I want to share about something different because my boys are different.

On Sunday I want to explore a simple question: how can we live in such a way to leave a legacy? For me specifically it will be about how, as a parent, I can leave a legacy of love and grace in Asher’s life. But it applies much more broadly. How can you live in such a way to shape generations? To change people’s futures? That your lives echo into the future changing them?

That’s what we are exploring because my guess is that when we come to the end of our lives we won’t care about more money, better promotions, cleaner houses, or better vacations. We will care about what type of legacy we have left, whether we will be remembered and whether our lives mattered.

On Sunday we are going to figure out how to do just that. How to leave a legacy that lasts and lingers.

But before we get there maybe think back in your own life. Who has left a legacy there? How did they do it? What was it about their life that caused such an affect?

For me that was my dad. Even though he passed almost 3 years ago, he is far from gone. His life continues to leave a mark in mine. Even though he won’t hold Asher until heaven, his legacy will shape and change Asher just as it’s changed me. So the question is how do we live lives like that? And come Sunday we’ll find out.

Perspectives Change Everything

Isn’t it amazing how two people can experience the same thing and interpret it differently? Isn’t it remarkable how different perspectives shape and change actions?

As with many of my posts – I’ve learned this from my son Hudson. Today we were going out to play at a park. And Hudson is now in the stage that he likes to dress himself. This is what he chose to wear: Shorts, T-Shirt and an owl toque worn backwards. With that, he decided to pare one rubber boot, and one of mommy’s shoes.

My first reaction, or perspective, was to tell him no, was to force him to change and wear something more normal. But then my attitude, and my perspective changed. What’s the harm in what he’s wearing? I can bring a pair of shoes for him to change into. And all of a sudden I had this thought, what would I be saying no to? Wouldn’t I be saying no to him being creative, independent, choosing, and being excited about his choices? Is this what I want to communicate to my son? Or do I want to give him a safe place to make choices, encourage his creativity, and empower his independence. One thing is clear, I think about things way too much.

But I think the point remains. The perspective you bring to any situation will shape that situation. How you see and frame what’s happening around you matters. I could force Hudson into my view of normal, or allow him to experiment and create. The difference is our perspective.

So today when situations arise, good or bad, as they always do, ask yourself what’s driving your decisions. What perspective is shaping your choice? Why do you feel the way you do and what is really driving your decision? And who knows you might end up changing your choice.

And in case you’re wondering, our backwards wearing hat, rubber booted, and “big shoed” little boy had a great time at the park. And so did I…