The Beginning of Life as We Know It

We opened our session in prayer, asking God to help us learn what He wants us to learn and to know when we are not on the right track with His Word.

As we begin the process of learning the Bible in a whole new way through the next 31 weeks, The Story opens on the very creation of our world. Chapter 1 of The Story is God’s way of introducing us to the very basics of life and the foundation of the earth.

The way this is told in The Story is very compelling. This study begins by focusing on God’s desire to be in relationship with us. While He is the ultimate power and authority with the ability to CREATE, it is us… people… that are the pinnacle of His creative activity.

Even though people messed this all up and embraced sin instead of their Creator, God loves us so much that He will do whatever it takes to build a bridge back into relationship with us. What a great God we have!

Our small group watched the first DVD session (these last only about ten minutes or so) and then engaged in some wonderful discussion for the next 90+ minutes. Some of the questions included:

  • When God looked at creation and declared it both “good” and “very good”, what do you think He was trying to express?

This raised some great conversation, but several of us felt that the “very good” was in reference to His creation of people in Their likeness. Did this use of “their” suggest that Jesus was present in this moment?

As a second part of this question, the host suggested that God looks at us and says “Looking at you is better than an ocean view… or watching a sunrise.” How does that make you feel? Everyone felt very uplifted by this thought… that God sees us as being more beautiful than some of the most majestic scenes on earth.

  • Genesis says that we are made in the image of God. How do we, as people, actually reflect the image of God?

Again, great discussion! Some of the participants felt that we reflect the image of God almost exclusively through our acts of love, in kindness to others, and when in a completely self-less mode.

  • If you could take a walk with God in the perfect garden of paradise, just like you would with a friend, what would you ask Him and why?

More great discussion! I don’t even have to say this for each question/topic. It was true each and every time.

In this case, our participants shared some very personal stories about difficult questions to ask… why have our loved ones  passed on, when is the end of time coming, why do You allow the darkness to continue (what are You waiting for), and so on.

  • In a normal day, what gets in the way of you taking a walk with God and talking about what is on your heart?

Wow… there was such great honesty here. The participants shared that “busy-ness”, time, work, friends, laziness, and several other natural human issues and activities interfere with our walk with God. We have opportunities to spend a little quiet time with Him each day and we tend to try and fill those moments with worldly thrills and frills. Let’s take the time to walk with God each and every day.

  • Even though Adam and Eve began walking in perfect fellowship with their Maker, God still gave them freedom to reject this perfect life. What does this spiritual reality say about the power of the choices we make each day?

God grants us this same freedom today… to choose between sin and Him in much of what we do and say. What will we choose? Isn’t it sad that, even with this great historical view of God and people, we still choose wrong over right as often as we do? We have the freedom to choose to follow Him in all that we say and do and yet we often choose to disobey. Yet… with all of this freedom to choose, and with all of the wrong choices, He loves us. Enough to send Jesus along centuries later to prove it!

  • Adam and Eve made a choice to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They rejected God’s vision for their lives and declared that they wanted to run their own universe and be their own god. How do you see that same sinful desire and behavior in our lives today and how does it influence our daily walk with God?

Isn’t this just like what we see in ourselves and so many others around us? We choose sin and our own way all the time… doesn’t this interfere with our desire and ability to walk with God?

  • If God truly loved Adam and Eve, why would He throw them out of the garden? The host noted that God’s choice to drive Adam and Eve out of the garden was really an “act of grace”. Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why do you feel this way?

All of the participants in our session felt that this was an interesting and new way of looking at this. We agreed with his point and felt that this was a very gracious way for God to handle this sin, a wound that a less gracious God might have handled with revenge or anger.

  • What are ways to identify that we are about to enter into sinful and rebellious actions and how can we stop before have crossed the line?

The group felt that we are often aware of the sin and rebellion through guilt, sorrow, fear and other reactions or considerations before acting. Sometimes, we are strong enough to recognize these moments and respond before crossing the line. Other times, we are either blind to the signs, unable to see or recognize them, or we willfully disregard them. Lord, help us to see the times when we’re about to enter into sin or rebellion and help us to act in the way that You would have us act.

This blog entry is just a very short summary of the session. We engaged in discussion for almost two hours on these questions and on the very sincere and heartfelt answers.

We closed the session in prayer, praising God for the people in our lives that reveal His grace, love, and presence and seeking His wisdom and discernment to recognize the tactics of the enemy as he tries to deceive us and the people we care about.

This was a fantastic first session in this 31-week series! Watch for more posts to come.

In His Love,

Pastors Chris and Cathy