Weekend Message Takeaway: Relationships Are Complicated

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 taught from Genesis 29–31. In this message, we explored the complicated nature of relationships.

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.


FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:

Relationships Require Hard Work (Genesis 29:15–20): Jacob had to work seven years in order to marry the love of his life, Rachel. That is truly an extravagant and unheard of dowry. How have you worked to love the people closest to you during the pandemic? 

Knowing the position Jacob was in, Laban, his future father-in-law, knew he could take advantage . . . 

Relationships Makes You Vulnerable (Genesis 29:21–25): Laban deceives Jacob! He kept the veil on his daughter and tricks Jacob into marrying Leah, his oldest daughter, instead of Rachel, whom Jacob loved. Jacob is understandably upset by this and confronts Laban about his deception. This obviously has to put a great strain on the relationship between Jacob and Laban, because the absolute worst thing you can do in a relationship is lie! It’s a poison to relationships—it kills trust and breeds resentment and suspicion. But the irony is clear: The deceiver is now the one who’s being deceived.

What can we learn from this story? One commentary on Bible.org concludes by noting that “one of the consequences of the sin of Jacob’s deceiving Isaac was his physical and emotional separation from those he loved. A second consequence is the moral parallel to Newton’s law of motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In our Lord’s words, ‘all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword’ (Matthew 26:52). Jacob chose to get ahead in life by means of deception. Jacob learned the sad lesson that those who seek to deceive shall be deceived.”

As it says in Galatians 6:7­–8 (NIV), “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” 

Relationships Require Healthy Boundaries (Genesis 30:25-28): Jacob was married to Leah and agreed to work another seven years to marry Rachel. So, in reality, he spent 14 years working hard in order to marry the woman he loved. But that didn’t change the dysfunctional nature of Jacob’s family. Literal sister wives—with Leah feeling unloved—and a greedy, deceitful father-in-law . . . and they were all living under one roof! 

This led to conflict between Rachel and Leah, competitions for childbearing, the giving of concubines as wives, and other drama. There were control issues, plots, lies, manipulation, intimacy being used as a weapon, idolatry, jealousy, and so much more. 

We must learn from their messiness and be sure to create healthy boundaries, cultivating healthy spaces for relationships to thrive and not simply survive. We must do so with Christ at the center and with the needs of the other person being put first. 

Unresolved Relationships Follow You (Genesis 31:19-20, 27): In this story, we literally see Laban following after Jacob, pursuing him after he flees with his family. But the thing is you can’t just make difficult people disappear. You can’t simply run. You must have hard conversations, you must take steps to make peace, whether it’s reconciliation or simply just a truce. You can make peace with someone, extend forgiveness, and move forward, going your separate ways, just as Laban and Jacob did. But again, you can’t just run away because these unresolved relationships will follow you and catch up to you, as was the case with Laban and then again between Jacob and Esau.

Relationships Humble Us (Genesis 31:44, 49): This can be both difficult and beautiful, as we will see with Jacob and Esau in two weeks. As we seek to have healthy relationships, we must approach them with humility . . . humility before God as we surrender our hearts and will to Him, and humility before others as we value their needs, feelings, thoughts, and struggles and put them first. The healthiest relationships are built on mutual humility and love. 

Quote to Remember: You can’t make difficult people disappear.—Pastor Doug Sauder



GROUP QUESTIONS

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: What messages do you think the media and pop culture give relating to relationships? How do these messages create certain expectations in your mind for what relationships should look like?

Discussion Question 1: This weekend, Pastor Doug reminded us of the difficulty of relationships. However, he also reminded us that the beauty of authentic relationships is worth the struggle of nurturing them. In the midst of a pleasure-seeking society that encourages us to follow our own truth, how can we combat these lies with the truth of God’s Word as it relates to relationships? What are some of those truths that come to mind?

Discussion Question 2: During this season of social distancing and isolation, what steps have you taken to ensure you’re maintaining the important relationships in your life? 

Discussion Question 3: Relationships require hard work; this includes our relationship with the Lord! Philippians 2:12 (NIV) reminds us to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling,” to invest in our relationship with the Lord, and spend time with Him so our relationship can grow and be as healthy as it can be. How has your relationship with God grown during the pandemic? What are some habits and practices you can build in to your schedule to deepen your relationship with Him?

Discussion Question 4: Despite reaping the effects of his past sin, the Lord still acts faithfully on behalf of Jacob and allows him to reap the benefits of his obedience at the same time. How has God shown you grace like He did for Jacob? As a result of His grace, how can you change your lifestyle to better honor your relationship with Him and with others?

Discussion Question 5: Jacob’s family lacked healthy boundaries, and it caused a lot of conflict and dysfunction. What can we learn from their mistakes? What are some healthy boundaries we should set in our relationships and how can we go about setting them in a godly way?

Discussion Question 6: In the same way that we are never too far gone from Jesus’ saving grace, our relationships are never too far gone from God’s power to reconcile and restore! We must be willing to be vulnerable, sacrificial, and truthful. How can you better cultivate healthy relationships with those in your life?

Walk It Out

Pause: Although Jacob had to reap the effects of his past deceit, God still acted graciously in His provision for him and his new family. Take time this week to consider how God has acted graciously towards you despite your past mistakes. Whether on your own or in your circle, express your thankfulness to God verbally or physically!

Ponder: If our true joy comes from our obedience to God’s Word, then our true joy in relationships will come as we begin to obey God’s commands together and honor Him above all else. How can you live this truth out in your relationships with other believers? What relationships with nonbelievers can you honor God with by obeying His command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31 NIV) and share the gospel with them?

Practice: Healthy relationships require time and effort. This week, think of a way you can actively honor someone you have a relationship with. Whether the relationship is already pretty healthy or in the process of becoming so, follow through with the action you have in mind. 

Pray: As you pray this week, ask God to give you the boldness, wisdom, and love to pursue your relationships wholeheartedly. Pray that God would help you humbly recognize the part you need to play in your relationships and for a deeper understanding and grace within yourself as you seek to honor Him with your relationships.



START A NEW BIBLE PLAN

We have several exciting Bible plans available for you to subscribe to! From a reading plan to follow along with our “Origins” series to plans on experiencing peace, overcoming anger, or dealing with pride, 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.


A LOOK AHEAD

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 hold services ONLINE, as well as some at our Summer Nights events. 

In case you missed it last week, instead of traditional midweek services this summer, we're encouraging you to get in community and build relationships as you dive deeper into God’s Word. So, 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 celebrate all the dads, grandfathers, and spiritual dads out there with a special Father's Day message. Hear from Pastor Doug, Dr. Bob Barnes of Sheridan House, and CCA Discipleship Director Steve Mayo about the legacy of fatherhood and how Jesus can help dads lead their families. 

We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!


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