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

What’s Your Name?

Naming someone is important and hard. Krista and I really debated and talked through naming our son. We wanted a strong name, and a courageous name, and one that we both loved. Not a name we liked, but one we loved. And that’s how we chose the name Hudson. Here’s Hudson learning to say his name and he loves to say it:

So the next time you see him, ask him his name he will grin, smile, and yell Hud-son.

But names are important. Right now Krista and I are back in the process of choosing names for a boy and a girl with our upcoming baby in November. Our girl one is picked, and but we’re still struggling with a boy’s name. The reason is that name’s last for a lifetime and we want it to be the right one.

But it got me thinking about the how God gives Jacob (which means deceiver) a new name in Genesis 32:28. God renames Jacob into Israel and changes his destiny. His change of name marks a course change and character change in his life. One deep encounter with God leads Jacob to no longer be a deceiver, and a cheat but a different person. A different person with a new name.

So my thought was this: What name might God give you? If you were to deeply encounter him today – what name or characteristic would he give to you to shape and change you? What names would you leave behind – like failure, cheat, liar, sinner? What name would he give you – cherished, faithful, courageous, loved? Or maybe something else entirley…

The point is we receive names from those around us. But the names that matter most are the names that God gives us. So maybe today spend a few moments, encounter God, and ask him – what is my name?

And if you have any boy suggestions – send them my way…