Mar 20, 2022
Genesis 6-9 “The Worldwide Flood”
Series: Apologetics
Thoughts for Reflection:
 
Almost every culture in the world has, in their history, a story or myth about a worldwide flooding event. Many of them are very similar in nature, though the characters and severity do differ in a variety of ways. Yet, despite this near worldwide agreement of ancient tradition, the story of Noah’s flood has been met with more criticism than most others in the Bible. In fact, nearly 50% of Millennials think that Noah’s Ark is only a myth and did not actually happen. Sadly, this may be due, in large part, to the way we present and portray both the Ark and the Flood in silly drawings, toys, and fairytale-type stories.
 
In our Apologetic study of the Bible, we have proceeded on the premise that the Bible is the Absolute Truth of God, the foundation for our faith and life. How then could we approach it as anything but the Truth? And if it is true, could it be possible that there is evidence to support it? The answer is, YES! More important, though, than this question, is what the story of Noah, the Flood, and God’s Goodness points us to as we consider its relationship to God’s greater work of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
 
Questions to take home:
  • One of the questions that is commonly asked of the flood narrative is whether it was a local flood or a global flood event. Which one do you think it is? Why do you think that? As you read Genesis 6 and 7, what does the Bible say about the flood that God sent?
  • What does the flood teach us about the character of God? How does it better help us to understand the character of God?
  • The Ark is a beautiful picture of God’s grace, mercy, and salvation. How does the story of Noah’s Ark mirror the greater narrative of salvation history throughout the Bible?
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  • Mar 20, 2022Genesis 6-9 “The Worldwide Flood”
    Mar 20, 2022
    Genesis 6-9 “The Worldwide Flood”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection:
     
    Almost every culture in the world has, in their history, a story or myth about a worldwide flooding event. Many of them are very similar in nature, though the characters and severity do differ in a variety of ways. Yet, despite this near worldwide agreement of ancient tradition, the story of Noah’s flood has been met with more criticism than most others in the Bible. In fact, nearly 50% of Millennials think that Noah’s Ark is only a myth and did not actually happen. Sadly, this may be due, in large part, to the way we present and portray both the Ark and the Flood in silly drawings, toys, and fairytale-type stories.
     
    In our Apologetic study of the Bible, we have proceeded on the premise that the Bible is the Absolute Truth of God, the foundation for our faith and life. How then could we approach it as anything but the Truth? And if it is true, could it be possible that there is evidence to support it? The answer is, YES! More important, though, than this question, is what the story of Noah, the Flood, and God’s Goodness points us to as we consider its relationship to God’s greater work of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
     
    Questions to take home:
    • One of the questions that is commonly asked of the flood narrative is whether it was a local flood or a global flood event. Which one do you think it is? Why do you think that? As you read Genesis 6 and 7, what does the Bible say about the flood that God sent?
    • What does the flood teach us about the character of God? How does it better help us to understand the character of God?
    • The Ark is a beautiful picture of God’s grace, mercy, and salvation. How does the story of Noah’s Ark mirror the greater narrative of salvation history throughout the Bible?
  • Mar 13, 2022Genesis 7-8 “God Saves Noah”
    Mar 13, 2022
    Genesis 7-8 “God Saves Noah”
    Series: Apologetics
  • Mar 6, 2022Genesis 6:5-22 “Catastrophe: The Flood”
    Mar 6, 2022
    Genesis 6:5-22 “Catastrophe: The Flood”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection:
     
    The story of Noah’s Ark is one that even those who have never stepped foot in the church have heard at least once in their lives. It is so familiar and yet rather… obscure. We know the details like a big wooden boat, animals coming two by two, and the rainbow at the end. But as we begin to look at the details of the story, we are plagued with questions and confusion about God’s character, judgment, and the reality of sin in the world.
     
    As we begin to look at the flood narrative, something we will be doing for the next month, we start by looking at the conditions and context in which this story takes place. We will also see the effect it has on God. Like a parent watching a child make a bad choice, so too is God grieved by the situation and moved to take action against the proliferation of sin in humanity and in the world. All of this, however, is seen in the greater story of redemptive history, pointing to the greater work to bring restoration to His once perfect creation.
     
    Questions to take home:
    • The story of Noah and the Flood runs parallel with the Story of creation. What connections do you see between these two narratives? Why do you think those connections are there and what do they communicate?
    • How do you understand God’s justice and mercy in this story? Do God’s actions seem justified given the amount of sin that the Bible says was present at that time? What new things about God have you learned from this?
    • Where do you see hints and foreshadowing of God’s redemptive work in this story? How do the contrasts between Noah and the people of His time speak to us? How has God called us to live within/among the worldliness of our day and age?
  • Feb 27, 2022Genesis 6:1-5; Romans 5:12-21 “The Hearts of Mankind”
    Feb 27, 2022
    Genesis 6:1-5; Romans 5:12-21 “The Hearts of Mankind”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: The early chapters in Genesis document the creation, fall, and expansion of humanity on the earth. Along with the increase of the human population comes a marked increase of sin as well. From individuals, to family, and ultimately into the early society that existed, sin’s presence is everywhere and its effects are universally evident. Even as I write these words on Thursday, the evidence of sin in the world is seen all around us and will be seen even more in the days to come as countries are subject to violence and war. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul points out that sin is a reality, not just that we deal with, but that we are born into. Sin has been passed down from person to person from the time of Adam and Eve. It is an almost inescapable bondage against which we have but one Hope for freedom: Jesus Christ. His love for us, His sacrifice for sin, and the Grace of God the Father provide the Way to true freedom: Salvation by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Questions to take home: Read Psalm 51:5-6. Taking into consideration Romans 5:12-21, how would you describe your understanding of “original sin”? How does the world try to blind us to this truth? Read 1 Corinthians 15. Verses 21-22 make a connection between Jesus, Adam, and the condemnation of sin. How do these verses relate to the Romans 5 passage from today? How would you explain this connection to a non-believer? What are some of your go-to verses to remind you of hope in Jesus Christ? How do they speak to the presence of sin in our lives and in the world around us?
  • Feb 20, 2022Genesis 4:1-16 “Cain and Abel”
    Feb 20, 2022
    Genesis 4:1-16 “Cain and Abel”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: Have you ever gone to a dinner party or gathering where you’re asked to bring a ‘dish to pass’? You put all sorts of time and effort into making something special and when you set your dish on the table, you see it: a bag of chips. Someone just brought a bag of chips; they didn’t even bother to put it in a bowl. There are a number of different feelings that this could conjure up from judgment to jealousy. None of these feelings, however, lead to a better enjoyment of your fellowship. Genesis 4 continues the story of the effects of sin in the world. The banishment of Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden is not the end, but the beginning. It is the beginning of the spread of sin into the world with all of its chaotic, destructive, painful consequences. But it is also the continuation of God’s story of relationship, rescue, redemption and restoration, the revelation of God’s consistent wrath and judgment against sin as well as His continuing mercy and grace for His people despite their constant penchant for rebellion. Questions to take home: While sin shatters the Image of God in humanity, the roles and purposes that God gives Adam and Eve (and thus all humans) are not rescinded. How do we see these roles continuing in Genesis 4? How does that speak to our continued roles as Stewards of God’s creation today? Read Psalm 40, focus on verses 6-8. What is the main difference between the offerings of Cain and Abel? What do we learn from this narrative about our attitude and the orientation of our lives before God? Read James 1:13-15. How does sin’s pattern found here compare to what we see in Genesis 4? How does it help us understand our own patterns of sin and rebellion against God? Bonus Question: Read Romans 5:12-14. How would you describe “original sin”?
  • Feb 13, 2022Genesis 3:9-18 “Effects of the Fall”
    Feb 13, 2022
    Genesis 3:9-18 “Effects of the Fall”
    Series: Apologetics
  • Feb 6, 2022Genesis 3:1-9 “Corruption: Sin Enters the World”
    Feb 6, 2022
    Genesis 3:1-9 “Corruption: Sin Enters the World”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: The Garden of Eden is universally known as a metaphor for ‘paradise’. We can take the most idyllic settings that we can picture and start to get a small sense of the setting that God placed the first man and woman into. Genesis 1 and 2 give us an image of the ordering and proposing that God has done in the universe and in the lives of the first humans. Adam and Eve were given a mandate from God to be fulfilled, a picture of what it looks like to be stewards of God’s creation. One thing that doesn’t show up in the initial creation narrative, though, is the freedom that God gives the first humans. God doesn’t create them as automatons that do His bidding without question, He creates people with whom He desires relationship. In the same way, that Sabbath rest cannot be mandated, neither can a relationship be mandated. God creates humans out of His great love with the desire that they love Him back. Jesus shows us the way that we show God our love, by following His commands (John 14:15). Questions to take home: Imagine one of your favorite places in the whole world. What makes that place special? What are some of your favorite memories there? What do you think it was like living in the Garden of Eden? What is the essence of the lie that Satan tells Eve? Why do you think God created humans with free will given the possibility of sin? What is the first consequence if sin we see? What does God do to cover that consequence? Where do you see parallels to this and the story of Jesus?
  • Jan 30, 2022Matthew 12:1-14 “The Sacred and the Profane: Sabbath and Life Rhythms”
    Jan 30, 2022
    Matthew 12:1-14 “The Sacred and the Profane: Sabbath and Life Rhythms”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: Last week, Pastor Jim talked through the Biblical definition of Sabbath, what it meant to the Israelites and how Jesus fulfills the Sabbath and draws it forward. Those who believe in Christ experience a new form of Sabbath in the way of Salvation from our sins. No longer do we need to try and work to earn God’s favor, we receive it, live into it, and rest in it as God’s gift of grace. One of the questions that was (and is) raised by a conversation about the Sabbath is “how does it apply to us today?” You don’t have to search very hard to find differing opinions on Sabbath practices. Jesus addresses this directly in His ministry, drawing on all of the Old Testament teachings from Creation to Sinai and beyond to show the Pharisees the true meaning behind Sabbath practices. We can learn from this as well, embracing the invitation of God to rest (trust) in Him and experience life and peace. Questions to take home: What were the Pharisees accusing Jesus’ disciples of? How has your experience with “Sabbath rules” been similar or different? What do Jesus’ words to the Pharisees tell you about God’s intention for the Sabbath? Both the Creation and Sinai narratives give heavy emphasis to the contrast between normal/common things and set apart/holy. Where do you see things in Genesis 1:1-2:3 & Exodus 20 that fit these categories? How does that impact your thinking about the Sabbath? About Humankind? About God? What do your rhythms of work and rest look like right now? What does your practice of the Sabbath look like, and what does it mean for your life? How might God be challenging you to embrace His invitation to rest (trust) in Him more?
  • Jan 23, 2022Genesis 2:1-3 “Entering Into God’s Sabbath Rest”
    Jan 23, 2022
    Genesis 2:1-3 “Entering Into God’s Sabbath Rest”
    Series: Apologetics
  • Jan 16, 2022Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15; Psalm 8 “Stewards of God’s Creation”
    Jan 16, 2022
    Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15; Psalm 8 “Stewards of God’s Creation”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: Last week we talked about how we bear the Image of God (imago Dei) in our lives and bodies and human beings.  God created humankind unique from everything else in creation.  This special status gives each human inherent dignity (worth) and calls us to affirm this in how we see and treat each other.  Imago Dei challenges all concepts and ideologies that would make another human somehow “less than” what we are including racism, sexism, discrimination, and any system or ideology that violates the sanctity of human life. In the Genesis 1 narrative, though, there is a second part to what Imago Dei means.  God created humankind in His image and then commissions them to Steward (subdue, rule, and work) the creation that He has created and then gives to them.  The intention of the command is to “care for” and “rule over” creation as God would.  Sadly, the topic of Christian Stewardship of God’s Creation has been skewed (or ignored) based on political ideology rather than taken seriously as a Biblical command and part of us bearing the Image of God. Questions to take home:
    1. What is the first thing that you think about when you hear language about “care for creation” or “environmentalism”?  What tendencies do you have toward this subject?  Why do you think that is?  How does Scripture challenge or affirm those thoughts and tendencies?
    2. How does the reality that we are called to steward God’s Creation change the way that you look at the world?  In what ways does it impact how you approach things in your life?  What are one or two changes that you could make to better care for God’s creation?
    3. HCC has a Statement of Faith and Beliefs (www.hopkinscommunitychurch.net/what-we-believe).  Take a moment to read the section on Christian Stewardship.  What do you find affirming here?  What things are surprising?  How does this statement help you understand what the Bible teaches?
  • Jan 9, 2022Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18-25 “In the Image of God”
    Jan 9, 2022
    Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18-25 “In the Image of God”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: The first chapter of the Bible does a lot to emphasize the importance of God as the creator.  It flies in the face of most of the creation myths and pagan deities of the time that it was written.  Everything was made by Him and for Him and exists by His will alone.  Because God is the creator, He is also the one who gives things purpose and meaning.  He does this with every single element, plant, and animal on earth. While the account of the creation of all things is both important and miraculous, Genesis doesn’t stop simply with the animals.  Quickly the account shifts to the crown of God’s creation: humanity.  While the ground, the stars, and even the animals appear through the speaking of God, He takes very specific steps to “form” the man “in the image of God” and “breathe” into him the breath of life.  These are very specific, very intentional statements that help us begin to understand that humans are something special in God’s eyes, made to bear His image in the world He created. Questions to take home:
    1. Scripture is purposeful about emphasizing the Image of God in humanity.  Why is this important?  How does it impact the way you view and treat yourself?  How does it impact how you view and treat other people?
    2. HCC has a Statement of Faith and Beliefs (www.hopkinscommunitychurch.net/what-we-believe).  Take a moment to read the section on the Sanctity of Human Life.  What do you find affirming here?  What things are surprising?  How does this statement help you understand what the Bible teaches?
    HCC has a Statement of Faith and Beliefs (www.hopkinscommunitychurch.net/what-we-believe).  Take a moment to read the section on Human Sexuality, Gender, and Marriage.  What do you find affirming here?  What things are surprising?  How does this statement help you understand what the Bible teaches?
  • Jan 2, 2022Psalm 33:6-9; Genesis 1 “The 6 Days of Creation”
    Jan 2, 2022
    Psalm 33:6-9; Genesis 1 “The 6 Days of Creation”
    Series: Apologetics
  • Dec 26, 2021Luke 2:8-15 “The Message of the Manger”
    Dec 26, 2021
    Luke 2:8-15 “The Message of the Manger”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” is what we like to say. Some have even fought to keep the “Christ” in Christmas and pushed back against just calling it “the holidays”. We celebrated Christmas yesterday because of the Incarnation (God putting on human flesh) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Messiah, Savior, and Lord. Without Him, there is very little to celebrate. Without Christ, they say, it would just be “mas”... which ironically (and aptly) simply means “more” in some languages.
     
    We have been, rightly, intent on keeping God at the center of the Holidays. We give thanks to God the Father, we celebrate the birth of Christ, and we seek the Holy Spirit’s continual guidance as we enter into a new year. Yet it is often perplexing how hard we work to keep other things in our holiday celebrations as well. The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus, of God’s grace and mercy toward us. Yet we insist, we even spend energy and time, on holiday stuff that actually teaches the opposite of what the Gospel is. One has to wonder… why?
     
    Questions to take home:
    What are some of your favorite Holiday traditions? Do you know how they got started in your family? Have you ever taken a moment to stop and think about what the message behind the tradition is? What messages are being taught through them?
    Santa is one of the figureheads of the secular Christmas holiday. What does the idea of Santa teach our children? How does this contrast with the message of Jesus Christ?
    As we think about the New Year, where do you feel God calling you to make moves or to settle down? Are there things He is calling you to take up or lay down? How will you respond to His call on your life in 2022?
  • Dec 19, 2021Genesis 1:1-19 “Creation: Days and Kinds”
    Dec 19, 2021
    Genesis 1:1-19 “Creation: Days and Kinds”
    Series: Apologetics
  • Dec 12, 2021Genesis 1:1-5; John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:19-22; Revelation 4:11 – God Creates the Universe
    Dec 12, 2021
    Genesis 1:1-5; John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:19-22; Revelation 4:11 – God Creates the Universe
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: The story of redemptive history and the Gospel itself begins with the Genesis account of Creation and the Fall of humanity into sin.  Already, in the first chapters of this story, we find elements of both Truth and controversy.  It is likely no surprise to you that the Biblical account of creation, even the very idea of an “intelligent designer” of the cosmos are beliefs that much of the scientific community challenges in a collision of worldviews that vie for the hearts of people the world over. Genesis 1, apart from its obvious intention to explain creation and the origin of all things, has many great Truths to teach us.  From the mere assumption of God’s eternal nature to His creative nature, from the might of His Omnipotence to the finesse of His perfect wisdom, we learn so much about God from these verses.  As we begin this journey, the Creation accounts found here are overflowing with Truth that can help us understand who we are and what we believe. Questions to take home:
    1. What are some of the key Truths that you have held in your life that you drew from the Genesis 1 account of creation?  How have those Truths helped you in talking about your faith?
    2. How have you interacted with some of the contemporary challenges to the Genesis 1 account of creation?  What difficulties have you faced with them?  Have any doubts arisen?  If so, what have you done with them?  What does a Biblical Worldview have to do with this?
    3. Pastor Jon talked about Gospel elements within the creature narrative, have you ever noticed that?  Reread the passages in the bulletin.  How do these help you better understand God’s plan for creation, your God-given identity, and what you believe about God?