January, February, March 2013

Want to learn more about Origins? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Jesus, Creator of Heaven and Earth (Genesis 1, Hebrews 11, Psalms 19)
Recently, a terrorist moved into my neighborhood. Never has anyone broken into our home. I feel safe walking in my neighborhood at night. The terrorist, however, is trying to change all that. She started a neighborhood watch and began regularly sending us police reports about arrests and crime in the general area. My eyes are now opened to the fact that crime could visit me. We are starting a new series of "eye-opening" lessons. If you thought that the creation debate involved dusty, largely-irrelevant issues on which Christians could reasonably differ, this series will teach you otherwise. It will reveal that some of the most burning issues of today have their roots in the creation debate. If you doubted that Satan exists and is engaged in a strategic war against God, this series of lessons, like my neighborhood terrorist, will disabuse you of that. Hold on to your hat as we begin to explore how the Biblical account of the Creation impacts many other doctrines of the Bible!

Lesson 2: Creation: Forming the World (Genesis 1, John 1)
Let's assume that you are going out to buy a new car this week. Except for paying for it, that would be a lot of fun, right? Think about what qualities you would like in a new car? What qualities would you avoid? Now consider two new cars. One was created by the finest auto maker who has production and design capabilities which are out of this world. The other is the result of setting off bombs in a junkyard. There is no design or purpose to the explosions. After a lot of explosions, they let it sit around and accumulate stuff until it is fit for you. Which do you choose? The handmade product, or the junkyard product that has been ripening? Let's explore this more as we plunge into our study of creation in the Bible!

Lesson 3: The Creation Completed (Genesis 1 & 2)
Evolutionists and assorted "Old Earth" advocates like to point out that the Bible is not a science book. It is not about biology, chemistry, physics or genetics. I think we can agree on this. So, the question is, "What is the Bible about?" I suggest it is about God and man and their relationship. Consider how the plain language of Genesis 1 impacts the relationship between God and humans. If God truly spoke the universe into existence, and the major sections of the project were each completed in twenty-four hours, what were God's options? Could God say "undo," "redo," or "reset?" The answer is, "of course," and that speaks volumes about God's deliberate decision to stick with His erring creation. What a God of love! Let's jump back into our study of the Creation week!

Lesson 4: Creation, a Biblical Theme (Revelation 14, Acts 17, Isaiah 45, Job 38)
One problem that some Christians, especially new converts, seem to have is difficulty in distinguishing between theological issues which are important and those which are not. These Christians waste all sorts of time paying attention to things which do not matter. Is that true with the creation account? Is this something that does not matter? Is the debate between the creation account and the evolutionary theory a waste of time? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can discover on the topic!

Lesson 5: Creation and Morality (Genesis 2-3, Proverbs 22, Matthew 25)
Do you know moral people who do not seem religious or believe in God? On what is their morality based? Today, we have competing views on what is moral. On one side is a belief in equality - that all ideas, all philosophies and all opinions are equal and should be equally valued. On the other side, the Bible declares that some opinions are worthy of eternal life and some worthy of eternal death. Equal opportunity is equal opportunity for salvation. Differences in life, even disabilities, are opportunities to bring glory to God. These are much different views of what is right, moral and just. Let's jump into our study of creation and the Bible and see if we can better understand this!

Lesson 6: Creation and the Fall (Genesis 3)
Making a mistake is critical to improving. The mistake reveals what went wrong and how to improve in the future. The world is filled with two classes of people: those who mostly learn (if at all) from their own mistakes, and those who mostly learn from the mistakes of others. Learning from the mistakes of others is not only less painful, but much more efficient. You get the benefit of the improvement without suffering the loss of the mistake. Our lesson this week is about the mother of all mistakes - the fall of humans into sin. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what valuable lessons we can learn from the mistakes of Adam and Eve!

Lesson 7: Through a Glass, Darkly (Genesis 1 & 3; Corinthians 1 & 13; Isaiah 29)
I'm currently reading the book Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. Except in the area of physics, Taleb thinks that tinkerers, rather than scientists, are responsible for most of our "scientific" advances. A poster child for Taleb's theory is Steve Jobs, a college drop-out who helped to create Apple computers in his garage. When it comes to the clash between science and the Bible, I'm not too sure it is helpful to say to pagans, as Taleb would say, "You're not too smart and you lie about your accomplishments!" However, there is substance to the claim that we are a lot less smart than we think - especially when humans challenge God. Our lesson this week is about the reasons for our limited knowledge, so let's jump into our lesson and learn more!

Lesson 8: Jesus, Provider and Sustainer (Genesis 1-3, Colossians 1 & 4, Exodus 16, Leviticus 19)
There is an old saying that if we give a person a fish, that will help for one meal. If we give them a fishing pole and tackle, that will make the person self-sufficient. How does God take care of us? Is He handing out fish all the time, or has He given the universe a "fishing pole?" Although I think we can only scratch the surface of this because of limited human understanding, God has shared some information with us. That information guides us as we carry on God's work of provision for those less fortunate. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 9: Marriage: A Gift From Eden (Genesis 2, Mark 10, 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5)
Have you wondered why Satan approached Eve when he sought to drag humanity into sin? Genesis 3:6 says that Adam was "with" Eve, but it does not say exactly when he arrived. The fact that God tells Adam that his sin was to "listen to your wife" (Genesis 3:17), as opposed to listening to Satan, makes it clear to me that Adam was not present when Satan tempted Eve. What should we conclude? The original sin included, as a crucial part, an attack on marriage! The assault has not stopped. Today, we have a serious conflict between the secular morality of equality of ideas and marriage. We also have an unprecedented number of adults who never married, and we have terrible divorce statistics. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what God has to teach us about marriage!

Lesson 10: Stewardship and the Environment (Psalms 8, Genesis 1-2, 2 Peter 3)
"It's all going to burn." A young friend of mine would greet all bad news about his possessions with that statement. What happens to your stuff is unimportant, he thought, because it will ultimately be destroyed. Does that make sense to you? Is that the proper Christian attitude to have about possessions? Is that the attitude we should have about our stewardship of the earth? How about the care of our bodies? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out!

Lesson 11: Sabbath: A Gift From Eden (Genesis 2, Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)
Think about a time when you forgot an event important to your spouse, a family member or a friend. What was your excuse for forgetting? My excuse is that I'm too busy, meaning that I am focused on something else. Frankly, I hate that excuse because it suggests that something else in my life is more important. When it comes to the Sabbath, God has taken away that excuse. He invites us to put away everything else and put our focus on the reason for the Sabbath. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out more about God's view of the Sabbath and what it means to us!

Lesson 12: Creation and the Gospel (Genesis 2 & 3, 1 Corinthians 15, Romans 5, Galatians 3)
My dear Jewish friend dismisses Jesus as "that itinerant teacher." He does not believe that 2,000 years ago God became man and authoritatively dealt with the sin problem. What is God's answer to these kinds of charges? How many times have you sat in your home and thought that it was created out of nearby trees by a terrible wind storm? How about five million years of storms? What if you threw in a few earthquakes? No one thinks their fine home came about by accident. God essentially says "I created you and the earth, and so you can believe that I am able to become a human and defeat sin." Let's plunge into our Bible study and learn more about the link between the Creation and our salvation!

Lesson 13: Creation, Again (Revelation 21 & 22, 1 Corinthians 15)
Have you ever taken a picture and realized that the focus was on the wrong point? This morning I read a headline that said 1/3 of the people who die of old age are affected by dementia. If you look forward to retirement, do you also look forward to dementia and a nursing home? I used to look forward to retirement, until I decided that I was not going to retire if I could help it. Am I now looking forward only to dementia and a nursing home? No. Like the picture with the wrong focus, I'm slowly refocusing on my real "retirement" - heaven! Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about heaven - the "Creation, Again!"

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