Well, it's good to be here with the kids and everyone together. How was your guys Thanksgiving?

Good! My Thanksgiving was incredible. I started the morning at 210 lb, and I ended the day at 217 lb. I know some of you guys are thinking that could be gluttonous or something, but you know, in my family, Mexican tradition, it's frowned upon if you don't eat the food. So, I had to eat. And now that I'm married, we go to two families, so it's my family and then it was Brandy's family. So, it's two Thanksgiving dinners, and you know, I had a great time. I loved it, and that's part of the reason why I love Thanksgiving.

Okay, the second part about Thanksgiving that I really love, and it truly is the best part, is spending time with the family. Spending time with the family is the best part. And what's funny is if you notice when you're with family, what happens? The same story that was told a hundred times is being told again or what, you know, and it's just funny, the same stories are being told over and over again. If there's somebody new that wasn't there last year, guess what?

Even though everyone else knows the story, it's being told again with the same passion and bigger than the first time it was told, right? And these stories, you know, these stories are really important to our family. They actually mean a lot. It talks about who our family is, like, where do we come from? What are the pillars of sequences that happened to get us to where we're at today? Stories are important in family, and it's important to know those stories. You know, we have Christmas coming up. You're going to be around family. Ask for more details about those stories, and you'll be surprised about what you find out.

There's another, that's the warm side of family; it's all good and awesome. But we all know that there's a second part of being with family that's a little bit more tense. You know, the family drama, right? You know, when everyone's gathering together, you know, "Oh, this cousin, that person, they're going to be together," and there might be fireworks, right? Or, you know, you have that tension with that sibling or that cousin, and you know you're going to see them at the family dinner. You know, there's that tension in family sometimes, and that's the reality. Usually, family is really messy. Family is super messy. There's no way around it.

And what's cool about that is the Bible does not hide from the mess. Because in the Bible, all you have is the same thing that we do at family dinners: to talk about the stories. The Bible is all these stories about God's chosen family and how messy they are. And those stories are told over and over and over again. And from all those stories in that family, we get Jesus. And so I want to give you an example.

You know, for the kids in here, you know you have the New Testament, you have the Old Testament. Hopefully, you're learning about that. But it works like this: this Thanksgiving, I got to hang out with Brandy's Grandpa. It was really cool. He lives in California, you know, Bry's been in Arizona most of her life, so, you know, they're in different states. But as we were picking at the food, hanging out, um, we got to talk for a whole hour. And what was amazing is that they literally have identical temperaments. I was like, "Whoa, like, this is like a family gene, like you guys are the same." But here, I want you to understand this: I fell in love with Brandy, and I love Brandy, she's my wife, she has my heart. Okay, but when I get to know her family and the stories of where she came from and who her grandparents are, I get a deeper appreciation and understanding of who it is that I'm married to. It's really awesome.

And that's how the Bible works. The New Testament, we have Jesus, he's amazing, and we fall in love with him. And we read his stories, and we love Jesus. But until you read the Old Testament and the stories where Jesus came from and who his family is, you won't get the full appreciation of who Jesus is in the New Testament. And so what we're going to do today, we're talking about family being messy, but we're going to look at the Bible and some of Jesus's family from way back in the Old Testament, look at one of their stories, and then we're going to go to where Jesus is and listen to his perspective on family.

Okay, so to do that, we're going to be looking at Joseph's story and how messy that is, the faithful Hall of Fame, Joseph. Guys, that family is a mess. I mean, this is God's chosen family, and you've got lying, you've got stealing, you've got violence, you've got attempted murder. You've got all this craziness in this family. Family, the mess.

And you know, their dad Israel, he's led to believe that his son was killed. And, you know, Israel, he's not just a poor father in the situation. He had 12 kids with four different women, and they're all part of the same household. This is a messy, crazy family. So if you think your family's messy, where you come from, I don't know if you measure up to God's chosen family of Israel.

And so, you know, just to finish off the story, you know, there's a whole two, three-part episode to that. I'm just going to finish off what happens at that story. By the way, but really cool is that through the mess, God shows up. Joseph, you know, he gets taken off to be a slave, but later on becomes powerful. And then the brothers later on, they're going to face starvation, and there's a famine, and they need help, and they run into Joseph later on.

So Joseph has a choice to make, to get revenge on his brothers who sold him into slavery or to forgive them. And through God and God helping Joseph, God comes and helps Joseph, and Joseph forgives his brothers. And so many people are saved through God's intervention in Joseph's life. It's an awesome story about how God works in the messy.

And we all have that in our family, every single one of us. We're going to have some type of messiness, some type of drama, some type of issue with family, and it hurts, right? That pain is strong in the family. Right, the people we love the most hurt us the most. And so we need God to help us in that messiness. And I want to point you to what Jesus, this is Jesus's family, what Jesus says when it comes to the perspective of how we should view our family. And we're going to go to, if you have a Bible, Luke 14. The kids were in the crowd too, right?

So large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them, he said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father, father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even their own life, such a person cannot be my disciple." This is what Jesus tells the large crowd, kids and all, everyone, part of it, right? And you would think he has a large crowd; he's going to say something warm and fuzzy about family when he speaks on it, right? But he doesn't. He doesn't go to, "Hey, love your parents, appreciate your parents." He doesn't go to the parents, "Hey, provide for your kids." No, he addresses everyone. He says, "You need to hate, you know, everyone if you want to follow me."

Now, some of us will know what this means, but if this is your first time learning this verse and seeing it, that word "hate" is a very special word or very, you know, there's an understanding to it. It's in the form of comparison when it uses the word "hate." For example, in the Greek, I know the kids, and the kids, do you guys care about Greek? Any kids learn Greek here? So kids, prior, just like, "Whatever." But just for anyone that wants to know, uh, hate in the Greek is "miseo."

Okay, and here, in this passage in Romans, uh, this verse in Romans, verse Romans 9:13, it says, "Just as it was written, Jacob I loved, and Esau I hated." And if you know, Jacob is Israel, the father we saw in the video. And so what you need to understand is, um, that "hate" is, is more of a comparison, right? Jacob and Esau, they were twins, and Esau was the older brother, and he was supposed to be the elder of the family, the one that got the blessing. But Jacob, Israel, the guy we saw, he actually stole it, but God ends up blessing, you know, Jacob, even though he, you know, he wasn't supposed to have it, but he had it.

And so God said, "Hey, we're going to go with Jacob, and we're going to run through Jacob's line so that we can do my will on Earth." But it doesn't mean Esau was, you know, God had hard feelings against Esau. He didn't, you know, do bad things to Esau. Actually, Esau had a pretty good life. But it's just that God preferred to run the Bible through Jacob's line. So it's a preference, right? Jacob, I love; Esau, I hated.

Okay, does that make any sense? And so you also got to think about the cultural context. I know the kids, you guys care about cultural context. No? All right. So cultural context, back in that day, you know, the family structure was hierarchical. It's a big word, hierarchical. And that meant that, you know, the head of the household was usually the oldest male, and he made all the decisions for the family. And if you're a part of that family, it's not just an affiliation; it's not just, "Oh, you know, these are my family." No, this is your identity. This is the culture that Jesus was in and who he was addressing. And Jesus knew it very well, right?

People were like, "Jesus, the son of Jesse, isn't he a carpenter?" You know, they, they identified him with his family. And this is the, the culture that Jesus is challenging when he says, "I, your family, needs to come second. If you want to follow me, I've got to be above. You've got to love me, and that means you prioritize me above your family." And in that culture, if you think that's challenging for us to listen to, in that culture, it's like, "What? No, my family, they have lordship over me. Like, I have to follow what my family says." But Jesus is like, "No, I'm going to teach you a different way." And so this is, this is a really strong and powerful, you know, teaching.

But I just want to clarify, just in case, you know, Jesus is very clear about how, or the Bible is very clear about how we should treat our family. I want to show you here in 1 Timothy, chapter 5, verse 8. It says, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives and especially for their own household has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

So you can't just read that passage like, "Hey, I can follow Jesus and forget about my family." No, no, you, God wants to make you a better family member. If you put God first in your life, he will teach you how to be a better family member. Okay?

So I want to talk about this idea of family discipleship. Hey, if your family is not in the church, I want to encourage you to be the light to your family. If you put God first, he's going to show you how to love your family better. Not the way that your family teaches you to value things, not your family's tradition, not your family's culture, but Jesus's love and Jesus's standard is way higher than your family standard of love.

And so for those, though, who are in the church and your family's in the church, I want you guys to understand this concept of family discipleship, and that is where every single member of the family is learning and fighting to put Jesus first in their life. That is the form of a family that we want to have here in the church.

Okay, so what I'm going to do, I'm going to do two, three things, four things. I'm going to address the parents, address the kids, give some assignments, and then we'll take communion. Sound good? Okay, and we'll finish off there.

Parents, awesome! I want to show you this passage, but I want to edit it a bit for you. So, we're going to read it in this edited form that I made. Maybe I can start a new Bible version or something, I don't know. So it says, "Large crowds are traveling once again with Jesus, and turning to them, he said, 'If anyone wants to come to me and does not prioritize God above their children, such a person cannot be my disciple.'"

Okay, so remember, "hate" doesn't mean actual hatred. It means to prioritize God above your children. Nice, okay? Wait, were you guys not reading what I was reading? Okay, all right, I'm going to read it again: "Prioritize God above your children; such a person cannot be my disciple." Okay, so remember that word doesn't mean you're hating your kid. It's more about putting God first in your life. I don't know who needs to hear that today, but your kid is not number one; it's God. And from putting God first, God will show you how to be a better parent for your kid.

I want to ask you: Are you engaging your children through the messiness of life the way Jesus wants you to engage them? Or are you trying to take control and do things the way you think is best? Are you seeking input from others who have gone through similar situations and can help you be more like Jesus in those moments? Think about that.

Kids in the room, I know you might be thinking I'm yelling at you, but don't be scared. I want to share this with you. We just read a scripture, right? If anyone wants to come to Jesus and does not prioritize God above their parents, such a person cannot be my disciple. Listen, Jesus is not giving you an excuse to talk back to your parents. He's saying that you should put your relationship with Jesus above your relationship with your parents because that way, you'll be a better son or daughter to them. That's what Jesus wants for you, to be a good son or daughter, and putting Him first can help you do that.

Parents in the room, I want you to know that disciplining your children is not something you enjoy; you do it because you love them. You want to guide them and help them. Your primary role is to teach your children about the Lord. The church is there to support and come alongside you in that journey.

I want to share an example from the Moore family. Their family is awesome but also a little messy. That's what makes it beautiful. When I get to hang out with their boys, I see how well they know Jesus because their parents have already taught them. The parents take the lead in teaching their kids about Jesus, and I get to walk alongside them in that journey. I appreciate that so much.

Now, here are some assignments for everyone in the room:

Parents: Find one specific way you can engage your child like Jesus would, no matter how old your child is. Be like Jesus and pursue your kids, no matter if they are messy or not. Find one specific way to engage them and show them Jesus' love.

Kids: Find one specific way to say thank you to your parents for loving you. It could be doing the dishes, taking out the trash, writing a letter, or doing something to show your love because your parents do so much for you. Even if you're a college student going home to visit your family, be like Jesus and serve your family.

As we wrap up, let's talk about taking communion. We're all part of a messy family, the church family. But we are a beautiful family because we are all children of God. Let's take this time to remember the great love that God has lavished on us by sending His Son, Jesus, to the cross for our sins. He wants to be a part of everything we do. Let's remember His love and invite Him into our lives.

Amen. Thank you, God, for your love. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins and for wanting to be with us. Help us prioritize you in our lives, whether we are parents or children. May we always seek to be more like Jesus. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.