Top 10 reasons why Noah was a redneck

  1. He named one of his kids after a pork product
  2. He worked construction
  3. He spent every weekend on a boat
  4. He lived in a mobile home for a year
  5. When his vehicle broke down, he left it in the front yard up on blocks
  6. The first thing he did when he got home was light the grill
  7. If it moves, it is food
  8. He made his own moonshine
  9. When he got drunk, he got naked
  10. When he woke up with a hang-over he started cursing the kids
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BSF Genesis: Week 5, Lecture

Life is hard.  Ever since Adam and Eve choose sin, it has tried to jump out and harm us and attack us and draw us away from God over and over and over again.

The bible doesn’t teach us that if we follow God everything is smooth sailing.  Just the opposite.  God tells us to hold on.  But God allows us to choose what we hold on to.

In our lesson tonight we learn about Cain.  Cain decided to hold on to himself.  As we read the verses you can almost see him standing there, pouting with his arms crossed tightly across his chest.  Shut off, defiant, clinging only to himself.

What a dumb thing to hold onto when things get tough.  God says that he is our rock and foundation.  God invites us to let go and cling to him.  God says he never loses a member of his flock.

But let’s look at Cain and what he clings to and how that works for him.

In our first section we are introduced to Cain and Abel.  Cain was a farmer and Abel was a rancher or shepherd.  They were brothers and Cain was the first born son of Adam and Eve.  We don’t know how old they were when our story picks up, but we know people lived for a long time in those days, hundreds of years, but we are brought into the story at a critical point – a point where Cain and Abel brought an offering to the Lord.

We see that both brought a portion of the product of their labor.  But it is also clear that the manner in which they brought it and the nature of the offering were different.  Cain brought “some”.  Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.

A key difference is in what they were willing to give up or sacrifice to God.  When Abel brought the best of what he had, first, he had to recognize that it was the best.  Second, he had to be willing to sacrifice it, to give it up.  In so doing, he opened the door for God to give him something even greater than what he had produced that had been his best.  And we see that God poured out his favor on Abel AND on his offering.

But that isn’t what happened with Cain.  Cain gave.  He may have given more than Abel, we don’t know.  His offering may have been worth more on the grain market, but there isn’t any indication that he gave the best.  It says he gave “Some”, but it does not say that he gave the best of what he produced.  Meaning, he held onto to that.  He kept what he considered to be best on his own little trophy case, rather than clearing room for the type of trophy God wanted him to have.

What happened?  Cain became very angry and downcast.  Pay attention to that last part.  If you are downcast, where is your focus?  Is it up and to God?  Is it forward and positive?  Remember what happened when Eve filled her vision with the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Look at where Cain has his eyes.

God doesn’t need our stuff.  We need to let go.  God teaches us how to do this in his word and by his example.  What did He give?  In addition to everything that exists in the physical universe, He also gave His only Son.  Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice.

  • What are you doing in “half-hearted faith”?
  • Where do you need to give 100% of your heart?
  • What have you earned or achieved that you are having a hard time removing from your life because “it is so great”?

In our next section, we see that Cain’s actions soon follow his eyes.  But, it is important to realize it did not have to be this way.  God loved Cain so much that he sat down and talked to him, one-on-one (maybe three on one with the whole trinity thing, but you get the point).  God offers him a do-over.  God warns him about the door he is so focused on, the one that follows his downcast gaze, i.e., the door that leads further down.  God tells him, sin is crouching at that door.  You have the power to rule over it, don’t let it pounce on you.  Now, if something is crouching right outside your door waiting to pounce, how are you going to keep it from pouncing on you?  Duh! Use a different door.  God is holding open the door back to him, but…

Soon, Cain commits premeditated murder.  He lures his brother out into a field and whacks him (in the literal sense).  It’s done.  The first recorded death of a human and it is committed by another human.

So God immediately rains down condemnation on Cain, right?  Actually, no.  God’s first action is to offer Cain an opportunity to confess and repent.  “Where is your brother, Abel?”

But Cain doesn’t confess or repent.  He doesn’t fall down and cry out to God.  He keeps going right through that door.  He follows murder with lies and denial and condescension.  “I don’t know.”  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God cries out to him to listen and see what he has done.  To recognize his action and change; to see the consequences and curse that he has brought onto himself from the very land that he relies on for a living as a farmer.

But, Cain chooses to close the door.  In verse 14 Cain says to God.  I will be hidden from your presence. Click.

  • What more could God have done to bring Cain back to him?  All he had to do was repent.  But lying and denying are like going the wrong way down the one way street that is supposed to lead back to God.  Should it be any wonder to us if we get hit by a bus?
  • What are you lying about or denying?
  • What are you trying to keep hidden in your life from God?  How is that working out?
  • Where do you complain that what you face is “too much” or “too hard” while at the same time contributing to making it even more, harder and worse?

Our third section gives us insight into the life of Cain.  Clearly, God still saw him, even if he chose not to see God (it is written down in the bible, right).

We see God continued to provide.  He gave gifts of music and carpentry and architecture and craftsmanship and arts.  And what did Cain’s children do?  They denied God.

Look at verses 17-24.  What’s not mentioned?  God.  I looked back starting in Genesis 1:1 and would encourage you to as well.  This is the longest number of verses so far with no mention of God.  In Genesis 1 it is hard to go a single verse without God.  But here, we go multiple generations.  What is the focus?  On accomplishments, on talents, on celebrity and commerce.  Add in a best dressed list and this could be daytime TV.

Not only is there no mention of God, but they quickly take the things that come from God and twist them and misuse them.  Think about it?  How did Cain get married?  Not just where did he find a wife, but actually, who married them?  How did they enter into a holy covenant without God?  Is it any wonder then that a few generations down that sacrament gets stretched further?  Why not marry 2 wives?  Why not kill someone and claim 11 times the protection for it that God offered to Cain?  Why not sing about it?  Wives… I’ve killed a man….

But what will all of this bring them?  All of these accomplishments without faith?  I don’t want to jump ahead, but come back and you learn about how they end up “all wet.”

  • What accomplishment are you holding onto as being yours instead of God’s?
  • Where do you focus on the performer or celebrity instead of the divine who gave the talent?
  • Are you spending your time reading People or reading God?

BSF Genesis: Week 4, Lecture

Think of the Garden of Eden as a private luxury yacht, one the size of a cruise liner.  Life is good.  All you can eat buffets. Beauty is all around you.  You have an amazing captain that walks the deck with you.  There are no fears, no threats, no worries, no sweat.  There is only one rule, stay on the boat (i.e., obey). But one day you are together talking with a serpent and he asks, about the rule and in the process of the conversation you change your perspective from seeing the rule as one meant to protect you to one meant to keep something from you.  You want to be the captain.  So, without much thought, you jump ship.  When you reach the water you find that it isn’t a clear calm body of pure water, it is dirty, yucky, murky, oil and grease and pollution.  The more you splash in it, the more covered you get.  Fortunately, God releases a lifeboat, tied to his ship (through the sacrifice of a living creature), but no more lido deck and no way to get back on the yacht. Until… (we’ll come back to that thought).

Let’s first go into our scripture story this week.  In our first section we read about a conversation that Adam and Eve have with a serpent and the decision they each make that results from that conversation.  We learn that the serpent is a crafty creature and in his craftiness he asks a question; a question with an innuendo.  Did God really say…?  He asks it of Eve, but we are told Adam is with her.  When Eve responds, the serpent’s tone gets even more sarcastic and pointed, basically calling God a liar and someone who is trying to keep things from Adam and Eve.  He says, “you won’t die.. you will be like God knowing good and evil.”  Keep in mind, up to this juncture, they were like God, made in his image and they knew good, because everything around them was good.  So, really what Satan is suggesting is that they should want to know evil.  And, like so often we do ourselves, they let their eyes and their perspective stray.  They turned from being focused on the word of God and the character and attributes of God and they turned their focus to the temptation.  Vs 6 says, “…saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,”  Then, they make one of the most pivotal decisions in the history of mankind, they took it and ate it.

There was a TV show years ago with a line, “The devil made me do it.”  But that is wrong.  It is wrong now and it was wrong at the time of Adam and Eve.  The devil prompted them to question God’s word and His character.  The devil lied to them about God’s intentions for them and misled them, but the devil did not force them to eat it.  He didn’t pick the fruit and lie to them that it was some other fruit, so they weren’t deceived.  He didn’t even force a situation of panic or urgency to cause immediate action.  He just tempted them to place their eyes and their focus away from God and onto a lie.  The same way we are tempted today.

Who are you blaming for your sins?  Society, TV, your friends, your parents?  What are you doing to focus your vision every day on God and not on temptation?

So, now their eyes are opened and they see evil.  What panic must have filled them!  I don’t know if you have ever felt a panic attack, but I cannot even imagine the emotion of the situation, the fear, the shame, the uncertainty.  They start sewing together fig leaves, like that is some rational thing to do, and then they hear God walking through the garden.  Panic! Hide!

God calls out to them and the reality that they can’t hide from God must have sunk in and Adam answers back.  God then patiently lets them tell their story.  Adam blames everyone else.  It was Eve, and, by the way, you are the one who put her here.  Eve blames the serpent.  But, both acknowledge and confess.  “I ate.”  Don’t miss that part.  Their confession worked then like our confession does not.  It puts us in a proper position to receive God’s grace.  Adam and Eve should have died immediately.  The consequence of sin is death.  But through their confession, God gave grace, not without cost, but neither what they earned.

When we sin, there are consequences.  The negative consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin was pain, fear, longing, domineering, toil, thorns, thistles, sweat, fight to survive, death.  The serpent was cursed, the ground was cursed.

Think of it like ripples or waves.  When we jumped ship and splashed into the dirty water, we made waves, things were moved and affected.  That is still true today.  One of the tricks the tempter plays is to hide the impacting waves of our sin from us.  It being hidden does not mean it is not there, just that we don’t see it.  Those types of ripples and waves are often the most dangerous.  They create an under tow that can drown not only us, but those around us as well.

Do you recognize that there are no victimless sins?  When you disobey God it has affects, even if you don’t see them, they are there.  What sin are you trying to keep hidden?

But, with all the negative consequences, we also see something amazing if we look hard at the verses.  Here we see the first glimpse of God’s grace.  We see the first mention of our savior, Jesus Christ, and the work that He will do to crush the serpent’s head.  We see the first sacrifice that God made on our behalf, one that transferred our earned death onto another creature.

We see something interesting in that first sacrifice.  It was only a covering.  Think of it as the life preserver or lifeboat that God released for us.  We aren’t out of the water, but we also weren’t immediately pulled under to drown.

But compare that to the work of Christ.  Jesus became man.  He tied a rope around His waist (tying Himself to His Father in heaven – we see him tighten those knots every time He prayed).  He jumped down from the deck and stretched out His arms (on the cross) to grab ahold of us.  Then, using his own strength, He lifted us back into the boat.  It’s like those rescue missions at sea, all we can do is reach for Him, submit and hold on.

Where the first sacrifice was a covering, Jesus’ sacrifice brought us back into a state of righteousness with God, back into unity and communion with Him, back onto the boat.  He didn’t just save us from the deep, but he brought us back into His family.

So, if we are once again “back in the family” and we have been made righteous, why do we still feel the consequences of sin and see it all around us?  Think about those images of birds being rescued from an oil spill in the ocean.  That is us.  God’s work of transforming us starts on the inside.  He places the Holy Spirit in us and begins cleaning the gunk of swimming in sin from our heart, then he works outward.  On the outside, we are still dripping the pollution of sin.  Because we still live on this earth, we are still all wet.  But like the ship is on the water not of the water, we are on this earth, and no longer of this earth.  Jesus said His kingdom is not of this earth and we are subjects of His kingdom.  See, one day, either when we pass from this earth or when Jesus returns, we will be completely transformed.  This filthy flesh will be replaced and made completely clean, inside and out.  We will live in a new heaven and new earth free of sin where there is no serpent (he’ll be spending eternity in a firey pit), no pain, no sorrow, none of the things that sin brought into this world.  We will once again be fully transformed back into walking in the garden with God and it will be good.

BSF Genesis: Week 2, Lecture

We established at our beginning of the study of Genesis that the bible is God’s Word put in place as the means that God reveals Himself to us so that we can have a right relationship with Him, one of love, respect, worship and praise, comfort, peace and joy, eternally.

One of the things I thought about this week, that our teaching leader mentioned in his lecture, was the point that the development of my relationship with God is different than developing any other relationship on this earth.  Normally, when we are entering into a new relationship, whether work, friend, neighbor, romantic, or casual, there is an gradual revealing that occurs as each party learns about the other and each party opens up to tell about themselves.  But with God, He already knows everything there is to know about us and He has put everything about Him down in writing.  The depth of my relationship with God is directly tied to my dedication in increasing my knowledge of Him and moving closer to His unmoving rock of salvation.

In Genesis 1, we see this.  Last week we looked at this chapter and focused on better understanding “who” God is.  This week our focus shifts to “what” God did: He created everything.

So, again, let’s start at the beginning where God is in the beginning.  God’s first action into his new creation is to speak.  He said let there be light and there was light.  We could camp out right here and discuss the awesome power of God’s word.  We could talk about this intrinsic and everlasting light that goes on like a ray coming from the Trinity to shine for ever more.  And, with the richness of Genesis, if you are ever struggling for something to ponder and pray, pick any one verse in Genesis 1 and use it to see God’s glory and power.

God first divides the waters below and above and then He gathers the sea.  I love this visual image of how God’s voice could stretch out like arms across a table and draw in the waters of the sea to make dry ground.  And then God brings life to the planet.

He brings vegetation, plants, trees, to grow and bear fruit, each according to their kind.  And it was good.

He then speaks the sun, moon and stars into existence.  These are the vessels that hold the light that He created on day 1.

When I think of all of this, it reminds me of how parents-to-be prepare the nursery and their home for an expectant baby to arrive.  They paint the room, they prepare the furniture and bedding, they even put in a night light.  How much more so our heavenly Father, and the moon is a pretty amazing nightlight!

In your language about the nursery God prepared for us, do your comments express gratefulness or do they convey an attitude of a whiny child complaining about the heat or cold?  Do you reach out to your heavenly Father for comfort and joy or are you busy throwing a temper tantrum?

But let’s go a little deeper in looking at some of the days of creation in this chapter.  God didn’t just create these things but He actually gave them purpose.  Look at vs 11 and 12.  God didn’t just make plants, but he made plants to bear seeds and fruit.  In 14 and 15 He didn’t just make the lights in the sky, but He made them to be signs to mark sacred times and days and years.  In 20-23 He made creatures of the sea and sky and specifically blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth, each according to its kind.  Same for the land animals, each according to its kind.

God created not only objects, but He endowed them with both purpose and order.  That word “according” is an interesting one.  It reminds me of “a chord”, a musical harmony.  When man thinks of nature, particularly its origins, our minds see chaos and battle, survival of the fittest, struggle for life.  But in God’s design there is harmony, order and purpose.

In your day, are you striving to find God’s harmony, order and purpose or are you viewing it as a fight, dog-eat-dog battle?  How does your approach influence your outcome?  If all creation is a harmonious melody that sings praise to Him, are you putting in practice time for the musical every day?  As a challenge, look at the ways that God uses animals throughout the scriptures to reveal Himself to mankind (colt for palm sunday, dove, the fish for the multitudes, Jonah’s whale, Balaam’s donkey, just to name a few.)  They are more prevalent than we realize when we look for them.

Then, the 6th day.  God, the trinity, made man in His image, in His likeness.  God made us male and female.  He provided for us with food to eat and He gave us purpose and direction, one to preserve and maintain order.  He delegated rule to us as only a ruler could do.  He gave plants and fruit to us as only the owner of the fields of harvest could do.

Interesting that God gives us two specific tasks.  The first shows our kinship with all other living creatures of the earth, to be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth.  The second shows our kinship with the Almighty, to subdue the earth and rule over every living creature.  And, as we will study in the weeks to come, how we have done pretty good at the first directive, but almost immediately failed in the second when we let the ways of the earth and the temptations present rule over us instead of the other way around.

But, we will also learn that the game isn’t over.  Like a reset button in a video game, those of us who have accepted the saving work of Jesus Christ have the ability to start over.  When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and He will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Just like a reset button, we get a “do over” button through confession to God that lets us start executing our order, harmony and purpose all over again.  And each time we stumble and fall, His spirit helps move in us and with us, transforming us back into His image and likeness until the day we stand before Him for all eternity in the harmony and unity of heaven.

BSF Genesis: Week 1, Lecture

Genesis StoriesIn the beginning God created.  Let’s spend some time and really look at those 5 words.  There is so much that is answered just in this statement.  It addresses the when, in the beginning.  It addresses the rarity, the beginning not a beginning.  What? Created.  How? Created, as in out of nothingness from the creator.  It answers what existed before the beginning, God.

Actually, this is the key word, God.  Everything else in these first few words of the bible, fittingly, centers around and flows from this word.    In our lesson today we are going to focus on the first few verses of the bible and see what they tell us about, “Who is God?” As we understand from our discussion last week, the entire bible is God’s design to reveal Himself to man, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there is so much of that message packed into this first chapter.

As an aside, this language of God packaging the revelation of Himself into these words and pages for us to unpack it is such a great metaphor and parallel to the gift that it is.

First, let’s look at the fact of God as creator.   For God to have created, He had to be before the beginning.  He was not created or formed.  For those of us who grew up in the church, this is familiar, but to any other religion it is an unfathomable concept.  The greeks believed the earth and heavens and their gods were formed “out of chaos”.  The Egyptians believed the gods and earth were formed from the waters and the sun.  Baal worshippers believed there was a battle between the god Baal and the god Yam and the land of the earth is made up of the dismembered parts of Yam, gross, right?  Many people of our generation believe everything was some accident flowing out of the power of “the Universe”.  Not so different than the people of the apostle Paul’s day who built a temple to worship “the unnamed god.”  And, as in Paul’s day, we Christians actually know the name of the one and only God.

We know from the very first words that God is singular.   There weren’t multiple gods, just the one.  We know that creation occurred by God’s plan and by His action.  We know that creation was both instantaneous and completed over time.  There was nothing, then there was the heavens and the earth.  But it wasn’t a finished work.  The earth was without form.  God continued His work for 6 days.

People often talk about leaving a legacy.  Parents talk about the legacy of their children.  Sports teams and athletes talk about the legacy of championships and records.  But a legacy is something we make, something that remains that is bigger that tells something about the best that we are.  In that same way, all creation is God’s legacy.  Not that He has left it behind, but that it is a completed work by His will and effort that He made and which tells something about who He is.  All of His created work is good.

When you look at a new day, do you see the good that God created or do you have a hard time seeing past the “stuff” of the day, your tasks and chores?  Do you ask God each day to show you the good He has planned for you today?  Are you under estimating God’s power and what He can accomplish in a single day?

Was God alone in creation?  Yes and no.  We can draw a lot of analogies to try to understand the concept of the trinity, but there is nothing in the physical world that is the exact same as this heavenly host.  We know from John 1 that Jesus (the word) was in the beginning, that He was in God and that He was God and He was with God.  So both the Father and the Son, together and unique were not only at the creation but created.  Colossians 1 tells us that all things were created by Jesus and created for Jesus.  This tells us that before anything existed God already knew that His creation would choose sin over Him and that He, Jesus, would need to become lower than even the angels and become a human in the creation to save and redeem it, buying it back for Himself.  And from Hebrews 1 we learn that creation was not just set into motion and abandoned but that it is continuously being sustained by the word of Jesus.  All things were made through Jesus, all things were created by Jesus, all things are sustained by Jesus.  The emphasis in these different sections is not only on God and Jesus’ presence in the trinity, but on the word “All”.  If all was created by and for Christ, that is a very broad stroke of the brush.  That means no mistakes, no throw aways, no do overs, no trash.  What a challenge to our thinking.  Does my compassion extend to all?  Do I see the potential for salvation of all or are there some that I have written off before they have taken their last breath?  According to the word and revelation of who God is, my acceptance that some are meant to be saved and some not is faulty.  All are meant to be saved, but some will choose not to – I pray that someone’s choice to not accept the gift not be influenced by anything I do or fail to do with the power of the spirit in me.

Which brings us to the third part of the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The spirit of God is often described as the breath of God and/or the wind in that you see the influence and impact of the Spirit even though you do not see the invisible nature of the spirit.  This is a good reminder to the skeptical doubters of this world who deny the presence of God because “they want to see God with their own eyes… they want proof.”  Can they see the wind?  No, but you can see the outcome of the wind and the power that it holds.  Few question that the wind exists based on these results.

In God’s work of creation, the Holy Spirit is at the forefront in the creation of life.  It is this pouring out that is the critical leap, the spark that cannot be fathomed without the divine, going from inanimate to alive.

But we know the Holy Spirit to be much larger and deeper than this.  The Holy Spirit of God is the creator of physical life and the source, the giver, of spiritual life.  When we humans turned from God in disobedience and sin (something I am guilty of daily, so I can’t get too mad at Adam and Eve), we stepped out of the design of being “in” God’s image that was His original design and creation.  But Jesus paid the price to buy us back, to redeem us, through His sacrifice of death and through His power to defeat death in the resurrection.  When we accept this gift of salvation, the separation from God is removed and the holy spirit indwells in us transforming us back into the image of God.

When you wake each morning, do you push the presence of the Holy Spirit to the back of your being so that you can “focus on stuff”? Do you seek and use the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your life?  If you have accepted the gift of salvation, then, in you right this very second, is the full power of the Holy Spirit of God, the exact same power that defeated death.  With that power, what can’t you do?

The “in” of God is a critical component of not only who God is but what He desires.  He is “in” as the unity of the Father is in the son and the son is in the Father and the Spirit is united in the Trinity and God seeks for us to be rejoined into that unity, that image, by Him and with Him   We are not designed simply to be by or with God, but to be cradled in His arms.

BSF Genesis: Week 0 – Lecture

What is Mr. C? (btw: Mr. C is my co-leader this year).  He is a man.  He is a BSF leader.  He is a father.  He is a follower of Christ.  All of these are true, but they don’t paint a very clear or complete portrait of Mr C.  To really get to know him, you would want a lot more information.  You would want to go all the way back to his childhood, to the very beginning.  You would want to know stories about his friendships and about the times and people who hurt him or let him down.  You would want to have some genealogy about his family, like what they did, how they lived, what they felt and believed.  You might want to hear songs that he liked, poetry.  You might want to hear his own words.

You see, that is what the bible is.  You can say it is a book or collection of books, because it is.  You could say it contains laws and direction.  But it is so much more.  The bible is the way that God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind.  It is the actual inspired word of God, told through the writing of humans, because that is how we can commune with God.  As God is eternal, so is His word.  It is stories about God, just as we would tell stories to learn about anyone else.  It is a tale of joy and a tale of sadness.  It is a book of poetry, history, prophecy, parable, law and above all, it is a book of grace.  It is a book with amazing joy, sadness and then redemption fulfilled at great cost.

The bible is God’s word.  God didn’t recite it word for word, but don’t mistake that they are His words.  In spirit He guided and inspired the authors to record, without error, these words so that we can become closer to God.  The written word is on the same level or authority as if God had spoken it (in a loud booming God voice) to you or me directly.  It deserves the same reverence, not in a lock it in a glass case and worship the ink and page, but in a way that requires our time and attention and effort to commune with.  The bible contains the knowledge we need to walk the path we are to take in our lives.  You can call it an instruction manual, a light, but most importantly, it is a gift.

God desires to commune and communicate with His people.  Did you realize that christianity is the only world religion that doesn’t have a “divine” language?  You don’t have to speak hebrew to read about God.  You don’t have to read ancient arabic.  The bible has been translated into over 2,530 different languages – almost every written language in the word so that every person can read, study and get to know the word of God and thus, know God.

How are you showing respect for the word of God in your daily life?  How are you showing just how thankful you are that God chose to let us get to know Him, that he cared that much?  Are you hungy and thirsty for the word?  Me, too!

Not only is this God’s word, but it is also how God reveals His divine purpose and plan.  So, since there is a master plan for how everything and everybody and all time is going to be and work and do, wouldn’t you want to know about it?  You see, God isn’t just a creator and builder, who designed and created everything, put it in motion and then just sat back and let it go.  He is a God of action.  That is one of the reasons we pray.  God is alive and listening.  He is active and moving.  He wants us to see Him, understand Him and, in reflection, understand His plan for our lives.

It is said that God’s main purpose is to glorify Himself.  Sometimes this is mis-understood and people think God needs us to tell Him how great He is.  Like we have something that God needs.  But it doesn’t mean that.  Think of it this way, a lightbulb’s main purpose is to show how bright it shines.  Glory is what God is, just as light is what a lightbulb is – OK, on a much bigger scale, but you get the point.

Do you believe that God has a purpose and a plan?  Do you believe that He has a will?  Do you believe that the God who created everything, knows everything, knows every blade of grass, every molecule, a God who is alive and active and listening and participating and communing…  Do you believe He just might have a thought or two in the fashion of a plan for your life?  Do ya’ think, then, that it might be a good idea to read and study the book where He wrote that down?  Just saying!

We start our study this year in the same book that God chose to start, Genesis, a book of beginnings.  Genesis tells us about the beginning of everything: at a universally large scale, as in, the universe, and on a subatomic scale as in the time that he spoke mass and matter into being (the heavens and the earth).  God could have chosen to reveal all kinds of details about timelines, and specifics about the way that He created, but He chooses to tell us the story in the matter that means the most to us, in a very human and personal way.  He spoke.  He saw.  These are human actions and God wants to reveal Himself to us in the language we all can see and speak.  Genesis tells about how we began with God and how we were given choice and made the wrong one (sound familiar to your own life?)  Genesis tells about things like rebellion, judgment, justice and, right from the very start, it begins the promise of redemption and reconciliation.  God tells us about Himself through the stories and interactions of His friends and the people He calls family, His peeps (as in they will be my people and I will be their God).

At some point in your life you will ask the question: How did I get here?  It may be at a time of incredible high, where you want to reflect on all the blessings.  It may be at a terrible low point.  It may be at a time that you just feel last or lonely or one where you are thankful and joyful.  Here is what I can tell you.  I know where the answer to that question is.  It is right here, in these words.  You see, everything we need to know about how we got here, physically, mentally, metaphysically, chronologically, spiritually, legally, purposefully, economically and redemptively – it is all here.  Where should we start?  How about: In the beginning God…