Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Long Story Short
Week 1: Good
1. Read our series memory verse out loud together as a group – John 1:45: “Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’” Why do you think we picked this verse for this sermon series? What does this verse communicate?
2. For you personally, what has been your biggest challenge when it comes to reading the Bible?
3. Read Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….”. The Bible is Telling a Story That We’ve Dropped into the Middle of. It’s a true story, but it’s helpful to realize that it’s a story. Why is it important to have an understanding of the overall, big story of the Bible when we’re reading individual parts of it?
4. A famous atheist named Bertrand Russell, said: “If we could strip away the mysteries of the universe and get to the heart of things, what we’d probably find there would be a mathematical equation.” Why did he say that? What do you think of what he said?
5. Neil Postman wrote in his book, Science and the Story That We Need, “In the end, science does not provide the answers to life most of us require. Its story of our origins and our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, ‘How did it all begin?,’ science answers, ‘Probably by an accident.’ To the question, ‘How will it all end?,’ science answers, ‘Probably by an accident.’ And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living.” There’s no need to bash science, which is how people explore and seek to understand God’s creation. But what is Neil Postman’s point here?
Today’s sermon is about Movement One of Scripture: Creation
6. The first couple chapters of Genesis make one thing very clear. God created everything, and it started good. Look through Genesis 1 and 2 and name some things that were “good” about the original creation.
7. What difference does it make for us today to know that they way God originally created our world was completely good in every way?
8. Read Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” What do you think it means that humans are created “in God’s image”?
9. In Genesis 1:26 above, we see our relational God (who exists as plural – three-in-one – the Trinity) creating human beings in His image – also relational. The first aspect of how God made the world good is that he made the world Good in Relationships. God has eternally existed in relationship, and he created us so that we could share the joy of relationship with him. Describe how you first began to experience a relationship with God.
10. In Genesis 2:18 is the only mention in the creation story of something that was “not good”. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” This verse reminds us of another aspect of God’s original intent for humans – that we would enjoy relationships with other humans. Read Genesis 2:19-25 below and then describe the kind of relationships God originally intended us to have with each other. Genesis 2:19-25: “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. // But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. //. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” // 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. // 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
11. Read Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” We see here that God created the world to be Good in Purpose. From this verse, what was the original purpose God created humans for?
12. Our relationships and our life purpose were created good at the beginning. So it’s interesting that these are the two things that seem to be especially messed up in our world today. What are some ways that our world has messed up relationships and life purpose?
13. Read Genesis 1:31-2:3: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. // Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” What questions or comments come to your mind when you read this?
14. Another aspect of how God created the world was that he created it to be Good in Rest. Something happens when we step back and rest. How do you personally feel about the idea of resting? How well do you do at it?
15. Why are times of rest so important?
16. John Eldredge, in his book, Epic wrote: “The Christian story is an epic Something hidden in the ancient past, something dangerous now unfolding, something waiting in the future for us to discover, and some crucial role for us to play. Christianity in its truest form tells us that there is an author and that he is good, the very essence of all that is good and beautiful and true, for he is the very source of all these things. It tells us that he has set our hearts’ longings within us, for he has made us to live in this story. It warns us that truth is always in danger of being twisted and corrupted and stolen from us because there is a villain in the story set on destroying us. He calls us up into this story and assures us that it is there where we will find the truest meaning of our lives.” Come back next week to get the next movement of the story!