Dr. Dale Locke
Week 3: When Bad Gets Worse
Series: Long Story Short
1. This month our church is featuring Foster & Adoption Ministries. Talk about what you know about this ministry. Share ways your group might be able to support this ministry, such as provide support to a foster care family, offer encouragement to foster or adoptive parents, or to agree to pray regularly for foster and adoptive families in Palm Beach County.
2. The Bible is a record of God’s faithfulness to His people. It is so much more than that, however.
Read the following scripture verses that depict more about what the Bible is:
Psalm 119:105 – Your Word is a lamp for my feet, and a light for my path
Hebrew 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Talk about these verses, and share if they hold true for you when you read the Bible.
3. In this series, we have heard that the Bible is telling a story – it’s a biography about a person – and we’ve dropped into the middle of it. As you’ve listened to the sermons in this series so far, has this idea of being dropped into the middle of a story gained clarity for you? What does it mean to you?
4. G.K. Chesterton said “I have always felt life first as a story, and if there’s a story, there’s a storyteller.” What does he mean by this?
5. Let’s review the Movements so far:
1.) Creation: God is good and He created good.
2.) The Fall: There is a villain
Do you have any new ideas or thoughts about these Movements as you’ve considered them throughout the past few weeks? Share about them.
6. The next Movement we will examine is theologically known as Israel. However for our purposes we will simply call it People.
It’s the part of the story of how God forms people for His Purpose.
Read Genesis 1:1-9 – The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
7. This Movement consists of a cycling of 3 concepts. The first part of the cycle is Blessing. Read back through the Genesis reading and count the number of times God tells Abram about blessings. What is the significance of this?
8. Look back over your life and consider times when you have sensed God’s blessing on your life. All through the Bible God’s people are asked to remember His blessings. Share some of those blessings He has provided for you with your group.
9. The next idea that cycles through this Movement is Failure.
Why do you think this is also important to remember? Share some stories of failure that are familiar to you from the Old Testament. What do these stories help us to recognize about God’s People – about US?
10. If you are willing, talk about a failure in your life that you need to remember in order to never repeat it.
11. The third concept that cycles through this Movement is Rescue. Dale indicates that all through the rest of the Old Testament, there are stories about His Blessings, the Failure of His People, and how He Rescues them.
Dale says “Rescue always takes place when a person is willing to trust God.”
Why do you think this is so?
12. Can you think of some stories in the Old Testament where a person got desperate enough following a failure that they got up and fulfilled their divine assignment? Talk about them.
13. How about you? Where in your life do you need to re-capture your divine assignment – to trust God so that He can rescue you from failure? Can you share about it, and begin to mark a memory of God’s faithfulness in your story?
14. Review our memory verse for this series: 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.”
Is this verse gaining significance for you as we progress through this Long Story Short Series? Why?
Come back next week to get the next Movement of the story!
Dr. Dale Locke