• The Explore the Bible lesson for Sept. 6 focuses on Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31; 2:1-3.
I’m a pastor of a “turn-around church” in La Grange, Texas. Yes, that La Grange, Texas. (Let me simply say our fair town has a colorful past). Though I’m only 43 years old, I’ve been in ministry 24 years. I’ve been married to my wife, Heather, 21 years, and we have three sons, one in college and two in high school. I love people. I love ministry. I love God’s kingdom.
I also love movement. Nothing thrills my heart more than watching people move forward in their faith. A Bible study group doing real discipleship particularly is thrilling. Watching God’s Spirit transform biblical listeners into biblical doers is life-giving to me. With this in mind, I would like to help your Bible study group become a “Bible-doing group.” Each week, I will give some specific application to help your group move toward Bible-doing. James 1:22 will always be in view: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Created then; exists now
God’s created work from Genesis 1 still is highly identifiable. I love this truth. Evolutionary theories try to prove the world we see around us is a product of evolutionary change. There’s a Greek word for that—bologna. Created matter has been researched and taught for millennia. Foolish man will continue to try to move further and further away from a creator God and toward man-made theories to explain the cosmos. But one amazing truth remains: The world we live in looks just like the creation description of Genesis 1. Let me explain.
On Day One, God created light. In doing so, he also created day and night. We can easily verify the existence of both. And wouldn’t you know it: it looks exactly the way it is described in Genesis 1. And we are subject to God’s created order.
Most certainly in Texas, we can step outside in September and affirm God created light—and wonder why the sun has to bring so much heat. Then night comes, and most all God’s little creatures do this amazing thing—fall asleep. We can’t seem to get enough of it, literally. We even pretend it is dark outside and sleep some during the day.
I’ve been home from a mission trip in Germany for about one week. When flying over the ocean, this very real thing called “jet lag” kicks in. Boy, is it annoying. Night is day, day is night, and it takes time to recover. I am subject to God’s created order. He is reigning over my sleep patterns with his light and dark.
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Light is such an amazing creation, man has invented the light bulb, so we can enjoy God’s glorious light any time we want. The heat is such an intense thing, man has created air conditioning—and all the Texans said, “Amen.” God’s creation is so good we try to reproduce it.
When God created light, he also created day and night, which means he created time. “And there was evening and there was morning—the first day.” The first day. The sun came up. The sun went down. Interesting, we find creation looking exactly the same way in all of these days of our lives. The biblical description of creation still looks and functions exactly the way it is described some 6,000 years later.
And even though we didn’t cover it in our lesson, the description of the sky, the oceans, the vegetation, the planets … we still find all of these creations today, just as described in Scripture. God created it. He declared his creation good, and so shall it remain, good.
On Day Six, God crowned his creation when he created human beings. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 2:27). “In the image of God” is a distinction reserved for humans alone. God now proclaims this creation “very good.” And very good is indeed true.
But what does it mean to be created in God’s image?
I recently observed it with my own eyes. A young family in our congregation just had a beautiful little girl. I will refer to her as Annie, the perfect complement to their beautiful 2-year-old boy. All was well with the pregnancy and the birth. About five weeks into her life, Annie’s mom, a physical therapist’s assistant, noticed little Annie wasn’t moving her extremities as much as expected. Within 24 hours, they were checked in at a hospital for a week of testing. The doctors were very concerned.
On the day of her second spinal tap, I was in the room with the family during the preparation period. I saw with my own eyes the image of God. While little Annie lay on the table, wearing only a diaper, her mom just kept kissing her feet. Over and over again, sweet little “sugars” on tiny little toes. It was one of the most beautiful moments of expressed love I have ever seen. A worried mom pouring out love and affection to a human she had only known for five short weeks.
Created in God’s image
And so it is being created in God’s image. We humans have a deep capacity to love. We humans have a deep capacity to care. We humans have a deep capacity to grieve. It is a beautiful thing. It reflects the very likeness of God. God is perfectly loving, and he placed in us the ability to be like him, simply to love. Not perfectly of course, but every now and then we see the pure, complete love of God poured out by human beings. God gave us the ability to give care to others, even to complete strangers. God even gave us the capacity to grieve, just as he grieves over us. It is a bittersweet emotion for us.
You are created to reflect the very attitude and actions of your Heavenly Father. With all the brokenness we see in this world, the very glory of God resides inside your life with the God-given ability to love. Is it any wonder Jesus proclaimed “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35)? It is the mark of the believer.
And God said, “It is very good.”
Application for your Bible study group:
1. What family in your church would benefit from some loving care? Are there young families who need some encouragement? Is there a single mom your group could “adopt” and meet practical needs in her life?
2. Young Annie in the story above was diagnosed with SMA (spinal muscle atrophy). She has been given an approximate two-year life span, even though she is only 3 months old. Perhaps your Bible study group could love Annie and her family by sending word of encouragement to:
The Combs Family
c/o First Baptist Church
P.O. Box 97
La Grange, TX 78945
3. If you want to be radical, consider banding some finances together and sponsor a child through Compassion International. Loving the least of these is such a Christ-like behavior.