From the Well - June 22, 2015

The Story begins this Sunday, June 28, 2015. You should start your reading this week. If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Story, there are a few left in our Food for Thought Resource Center. They are only $5! I hope all of you are as excited as I am about finally starting to read The Story!

As part of his journey, I will continuously blog about the upcoming lessons. I will give a brief overview of what's coming up and offer some questions and reflections for the week that you might want to consider as you make notes or journal about your journey through the Bible.

Here are some thoughts for this week.   You might find it helpful to think of the Bible as a five act play: (1) Creation & Fall, (2) Israel, (3) the Time of Jesus, (4) the Age of the Church, and (5) the End of Time. This week we start at the very beginning. God creates out of nothing and then sees the freshly minted "go south" with the first sin of Adam and Eve.

Toward the end of chapter 1 and throughout chapter 2, we see God working out his commitment to save the world rather than end it.  After the Flood and the Ark, God forms the people Israel as the first step in his plan of salvation for the world.  Be sure to notice how throughout these initial short stories, God simultaneously preserves human freedom while tirelessly working to bring humanity back into right relationship with himself.

Questions for the week:
Consider journaling your response to these questions:

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

Genesis 1:26-27 says that we are made in the image of God. How do we, as people, actually reflect the image of God?

Do you believe God is still involved with creation? Where do you see the creativeness of God in your life?

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?

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

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?

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 your life today and how does it influence your daily walk with God?

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

God pursued Adam and Eve after they sinned.  God pursued an angry Cain.  Have you ever had a time when you realized that God was pursuing you in spite of your sin?  How did that pursuit change your relationship with God?

Prayer Time

As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get your started:

Ask God to help you appreciate the beauty of his creation and to be a good steward and caretaker of the world he has made.

Give praise to God for the people in your life who have revealed his grace, love, and presence to you.

Pray for wisdom and discernment to recognize sin as it tries to deceive you and the people you care about.

Between Sessions

Personal Reflection

Take time this week to meditate on the depth of God’s love for human beings. Why would he keep pursuing us even after we have rebelled and rejected him? How can you express thanks for his seeking love? What can you do to celebrate the good news that God pursues you, even when you are not embracing his will and desires for you?

Personal Action

Take a walk outside and notice the beauty of what God has made. Look at the intricacies of a leaf or the expanse off the sky. Thank God for making this amazing world. As you walk, seek to talk to God as though you were two friends walking in the garden. Tell him about your life, feelings, joys, and fears, Ask him to help you learn to walk with him each and every day.

Read for Next Session

Chapter 2 in The Story.