Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Genesis 1 Youth Sunday School

Refer to my Most Effective Way to Teach a Youth Bible Study

Discussion Points:

- God as Creator - what the Bible says about creation

- God as Maker and King - Genesis 1 clearly portrays God as our Maker. I wonder if you've ever made something. Someday, you will probably make a human being. You will participate in the Divine act of creation by having a child. Let me ask you, do you expect that child to listen to you and obey you?

Of course you do. Even though your son or daughter will have their own will, you will know what's best for them. They have no legal rights to make their own decisions until they come of age.

It's the same with God. He is our Creator. He made us. We wouldn't be here without Him. And even though we have our own will, we do not have the right to do as we please. We are responsible to God to obey Him. Like a parent with their child, He knows what's best for us and we have no right to act against His wishes.

Another way to think about it is to view God as our King and we as His vassals. The King is the rightful ruler. We have no right to rebel against Him unless He does something that proves Himself unworthy to rule. But God will never do anything unworthy of our respect and obedience because He is the perfect good and wise King. Our only legitimate response to God our King is loyalty.

Give thanks to God for the life He's given you as your Maker, your Parent, and submit to Him willfully as your rightful, good, and perfect King.

- The Spirit of God Hovering Over the Dark Waters - We've all gone through dark times in life. I know I have, sometimes on a daily basis. That's just how life is. It's up and it's down. Sometimes things are going your way, sometimes they're not.

That's why I love Genesis 1:2-3. The entire world is in chaos. It has no orderly shape to it. It's just a mess of watery goo covered in complete darkness. It's nothing in those first moments of creation.

But what?

But God's Spirit was hovering over the mess. God's Spirit was hovering, waiting in the midst of that darkness, getting ready to act, and in the next instant, God's Spirit declares, "Let there be light!" and the darkness is gone. It'll come back. But for  now, it's gone.

We all go through dark times. Sometimes, our life seems like a mess. But God's Spirit, my friends, is hovering over you, getting ready to act, getting ready to bring light to your darkness.

Can you feel it?

- God Said and There Was - If you could wish for anything - if you could just say it and have it happen - what would you wish for? Would you wish for some circumstance in your life to change? Would you wish for world peace or an end to hunger?

I'm betting that most of the things you would wish for are good things. I'm also betting that most of the things you would wish for are things that God would also wish for. He wants your life to be good. He wants the world to be in harmony. If it's good, God would wish for it, right? He's a good God.

Except with God, it's not wishing. It's waiting. Because God can change things in an instant, at any time He wants to. He can simply speak and create light. He can say the word and make it be.  He can dispel the darkness and turn the universe on its head with a sentence. But the universe had to wait for that to happen. God didn't create light on the earth the first second He could. God is eternal. The earth is not. The earth had to wait for God to form it and shine light on it.

It's the same with us. God can change our whole situation, the whole course of our life, the whole world order... instantly.

And someday, He will. Christ will return and flip the world right side up. Everything will be as it was intended. But that time hasn't come yet.

Maybe the time for God to speak and change your situation is right around the corner. Or maybe the time isn't right yet and you'll have to wait a little longer. Just keep listening for that one sentence, that one word of change from Him and be ready. Because it is coming. He promises you that.

- Let US Make Man - Have you ever wondered why God made us? I mean, what are we doing here? What's the point? What did God have in mind - what did He intend - when He decided to create humanity?

Well, to answer that, let's think about why we make things. Think back to the last thing you made. I'm not talking about something you made for work or something that you had to make for a project in school. I'm talking about the last thing you made out of your own free will just because you had the idea to make it. Maybe it was a piece of art, or a piece of furniture for the home, or a good meal, or a child.

Whatever it was, why did you decide to make it?

You made it because you wanted it, right? You just wanted it. You wanted to enjoy it.

It's the same with God. God didn't have any need to make us. He wasn't assigned the task. He just wanted to do it. He just wanted you.

You see, God is a relational being. He Himself exists as Three Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - all in a relationship with each other. They are separate persons, but They are united in Their essence and in their unified relationship to one another. God the Three-in-One is a relationship.

God exists for relationship. And so He wanted more relationship. He made us because He wanted to be in relationship with us, with me and with you.

That's why you're here. That's why God made you. He made you to love you and to have a relationship with you. Wow! Isn't that something? God made you just because He wanted to love you and be in a relationship with you.

How can you say no to that? It's like the prettiest, nicest, smartest girl or the handsomest, most successful, most sensitive guy just wanting to love you and be in a relationship with you. You wouldn't turn them down, would you?

But we're talking about something infinitely greater than that. We're talking about the God of the Universe making you, creating you, putting you together from the moment of your conception all just so He can love you and have a relationship with you.

God is a Relationship and He's created you and invited you into that relationship. Don't keep Him waiting. Say yes and join your heart to His more fully today.

- In Our Image - In Genesis 1:26-27, God, "Let Us make humans in Our own image and in Our own likeness". What do you think it means for humans to be in God's image and God's likeness?

One way that we're in His image, or that we look like His image, or resemble His image is in a very physical way - the way we're put together. When God the Father said, "Let Us make humans in Our image", He was talking to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God, the Three-in-One, was saying, "Let's make humans to be like Us."

And so because God is a Three-in-One, we are a three-in-one in our very being. We have a mind and we have a spirit, both held in our body, just as God has God the Son (referred to in some places as the logos or the thought, and other places as the Wisdom of God) and God the Holy Spirit, both unified in and coming from God the Father.

So our very being reflects, or is an image of, God's being. Pretty cool, huh?

But besides being in God's image, we've also been made in God's likeness. So what does that mean? What does it mean for us to be like God?

Well, a good way to answer that is to ask the question, what is God like? How would you describe Him?

You might say He's:
  • Powerful
  • Loving
  • Creative
  • Kind
  • Just
  • Merciful
  • Relational
  • Caring
  • Eternal
  • All-knowing
  • All-present
  • Wise
  • Righteous
  • Selfless
  • Giving
  • etc.

That's what God is like. And we were made to be like Him. Now, obviously we can't be all of those things to the extent that God is, but can we strive to be those things as much as possible?

If we can't be all-present - if we can't be everywhere at once - can we be more present with those we care about? Can we spend more time with our loved ones giving them our focused attention?

If we can't be as wise or as all-knowing as God, can we practice sharpening our mind and making good decisions?

I would encourage you to do two things this week:

  1. Remind yourself that your body, your mind, and your spirit have been made in God's image. As such, your body, mind, and spirit should be unified and working together. If your spirit is working toward good ends, but you're not taking as good care of your body as you should, your being isn't unified. Understand that each part of you needs to be unified and working together.
  2. Make a list of God's qualities - what He's like - and intentionally strive to be more like that. Keep a journal of how you embodied that quality during the day and see how you're growing in God's likeness. Next week, do the same thing with another one of God's qualities and keep becoming more and more like Him.

As you practice living a unified life in your being, and living God's qualities, you'll find that it becomes easier, because it's what you were made to be like.

- Every Green Plant for Food - God gave humans and animals plants for food, not other animals. The plan at creation was vegetarianism, not violence against other living beings. This is how it will be when Christ comes again and returns everything to the way it should be.

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