Summary: Just like God used Joseph to rescue his family, he may be using you to rescue your family.

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There is no such thing as the “perfect family.” The reason for this is that there is no such thing as “perfect people.” Jesus was the only “perfect person” that ever lived – which leaves you out.

Because there are no “perfect people” it is impossible to have “perfect families.” Which means, that to some degree you are a part of a dysfunctional family.

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Now some of you think that your families are top of the line, as near to “perfect” as it gets. And it’s true that some families have it more together than others, but the bottom line is that because of sin, we all have to deal with dysfunction in our families.

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Webster’s Dictionary defines “dysfunction” as abnormal, impaired or incomplete functioning. And by the way, Webster himself had a dysfunctional relationship with his wife. I heard that the reason the dictionary came about was because Webster got into a fight with his wife, that’s right, and well… one word let to another J

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Dysfunctional families are nothing new, they are as old as the first family. Do you remember the two sons of Adam and Eve – Cain and Able? Well what happened to Able? Cain killed him because of jealousy.

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Here in America our divorce rate hovers around 50%, abortions continue to occure on a routine basis, spousal abuse, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse and excuse abuse are a persistant problem in our communities.

Oh, you’re probably wondering what “excuse abuse” is – well, it’s when a person refuses to take responsibility for their own actions. Life problems are conviently blamed on someone or something else.

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A good example of this is the recent court case where an overweight person sued McDonalds for making him fat. Now that’s “excuse abuse” plain and simple.

Dysfunctional families are all around us, some are more noticible than others because they allow their dysfunction to spill into the public areana (for example, hollywood actors) while other families just suffer in silence.

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As a side note, it always amazes me that these dysfunctional, filthy rich, hollywood stars, who can’t stay married, can’t stay sober and can’t even stay employed have the audacity to go on national television and try to tell the President and Congress how to run the country. And what’s even more rediculous is that people actually listen to them.

I ask you, if the Hollywood set can’t even run their own lives, how can they propose to run the nation?

Dysfunction is all around us, in our families, our communities, our media and our culture.

Sounds kind of bleak doesn’t it.

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But there is good news. Just as God loves dysfunctional sinful individuals, He also loves dysfunctional families.

Don’t get me wrong, God doesn’t approve of sin and dysfunction – not at all, but He does love the people that make up families. He sent His Son Jesus to die for them.

So, the good news today is that there is HOPE for families no matter how messed up they are.

Whether you have a severly dysfunctional family or a mildly dysfunctional family, there is HOPE for you today!

This week in our Bible reading we’ve been reading about a severly dysfunctional family. I’m talking about Jacob’s family.

The name “Jacob” means “to take hold of” or “supplanter.” Websters Dictionary indicates that a “supplanter” is a person who takes hold of the possessions of someone else through force or plotting.

If you recall, Jacob was one of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. The brother of Esau, he was also known by the name “Israel.”

Jacob was born in answer to his father’s prayers and he became the favorite son of his mother. He was nicknamed Jacob because, at the birth of the twins, "his hand took hold of Esau’s heel as they exited the womb. According to the accounts in Genesis, Jacob continued to "take hold of" the possessions of others throughout his life - his brother’s birthright, his father’s blessing, and his father-in-law’s flocks and herds.

Jacob was himself dysfunctional, yet God loved him and would bless him and cause his descendants to become the great nation named after him - Israel.

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Before we read the scripture, let me give you some background. Jacob had four wives Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah. From these wives came twelve sons who would eventually become the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel. From the start, this was a dysfunctional family full of anger, resentment and jealousy causing infighting and rilvery between the sons of these four wives. Two of the wives, Leah and Rachel, were sisters and were themselves jealous and resentful of each other, and this carried over to the kids.

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