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Believe the Blessing

In Jacob's life, we see how God disrupts, wounds, and blesses us so we can bless the world.


Ten years ago I had an experience that changed my life in a profound way. I was working at a Christian camp in the mountains of L.A. I lived in this cabin with fourteen other guys. We all served as lifeguards on the lake there. One night at midnight we received a phone call. Someone was missing: 21-year-old Samson Washington. Samson came up from inner city L.A. as a camp counselor for the week with junior high students from his church. He had been missing since noon. We assembled on the lake.

There were two theories on where Samson Washington was. One theory was that Samson was lost in the mountains. He had said he wanted to go for a hike. Maybe he had gotten lost or was hurt in the mountains. There were already search parties and rescue teams looking for him there. The other theory was that maybe Samson Washington had never come out of the lake. He had last been seen swimming. So I and the fourteen guys from my cabin, along with the female lifeguards, assembled along the shore of the lake. When the head lifeguard gave the signal, our job was to take two steps forward in the lake and search the bottom to see if we felt anything. We thought this was just a precautionary measure—a double check to make sure there was nothing there.

I was with a team of five people in the deep end of the lake. When the head lifeguard signaled, we dove down to the bottom of the lake, took two big strokes, feeling the bottom of the lake, the sandy floor, then we'd shoot back up to the top, tread water, and do it again on the lifeguard's signal.

It had been half an hour; it was now 12:30. We were cold. Nothing had turned up. We received the lifeguard's signal again, and we dove down and felt the sandy bottom of the lake. I didn't ...

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Justin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church in Silicon Valley, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The encounter

II. The blessing

III. The wound

IV. A new name