Creation (January 25 – February 15, 2015)

Introduction

(1)    We experience God’s wondrous creation with all of our senses. A series on “God’s Creation,” lends itself to visuals, sound and feel, beauty, art, poetry, music and praise. Consider bringing to class plants, seed, and even animals. Use art and videos of creation.

(2)    Ministry Project: In keeping with the creation theme, plan a church beautification project for the spring. If you are interested, talk to the Property Committee about possible landscape projects.

(3)    The Green Earth Challenge: Integrating Faith and the Environment, Winnie Williams (Macon: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2009). We used this in a LABC Book Club a few years ago and have extra copies. They are free for you to take and keep from the library.

(4)    For additional commentary, try these Bible Commentaries in the church library:
a.    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
b.    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)


January 25 – God’s Good Creation (Psalm 104:1-13, 33-34)

(1)    Read the scripture with music and video posted on our webpage:
a.    Psalm 104 Project Africa, includes music, words, and pictures of God’s creation.
b.    Psalm 104 by Amy Grant with pictures and music.

(2)    The Formations Teaching Guide in “Israel’s Stamp,” (p. 20) mentions other gods and creation stories. You can find pictures and descriptions of these gods here:
a.    Canaanite gods:
i.    Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Bible, John Drane, editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), p. 56.
ii.    “The God’s of Canaan,” The World of the Bible, Roberta L. Harris (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), pp. 52-53.
b.    Babylonian gods: Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Bible, John Drane, editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), p. 64-65.

(3)    Show the short video, Natural Beauty Surrounds Lexington Kentucky posted on our webpage. Listen to University of Kentucky faculty talk about why they love the natural beauty surrounding Lexington, Kentucky. Includes pictures and video of Kentucky landscapes.

(4)    The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 22) suggests using hymn such as, For the Beauty of the Earth and All Things Bright and Beautiful. On our webpage are some videos using these hymns with beautiful pictures of God’s creation.


February 1 – Stewards of Creation (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15-17)


(1)    For a dramatic reading of the creation story use, The Bible Experience, read by top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers. See Keith for how to play this for your class.

(2)    Resources in the library with maps and articles related to creation:
a.    Exploring the Story: A Reference Companion, by Adam T. Barr (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011) includes an article with illustrations, “Creation: The Beginning of Life as We Know it.” You may have a copy from last years’ emphasis, The Story.
b.    “Quest for Eden” in, A Visual Guide to Bible Events (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), pp. 12-14.

(3)    Genesis 1:28, says that “God blessed them.” It does not say how God blessed them—with words of blessing? With the act of caring for them? Discuss the purpose and importance of blessing. Our worship service ends with a Benediction, which is a blessing. How is our benediction used to share God’s blessing with the people or how can it be used?

(4)    In your discussion of how we can be good stewards of God’s creation, consider using insights from The Green Earth Challenge: Integrating Faith and the Environment, Winnie Williams (Macon: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2009) available in the library. See especially, “Ways to Promote Creation Care,” pages 125-129 for practical ideas.

(5)    Who are the farmers in your class or in our church that could discuss with your class how to care for the earth so that it brings forth food?

(6)    The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 25) has an activity, “Created in Relationship for Relationship.” How are relationships cultivated at LABC? How do we promote fellowship? For example, through Sunday School classes, welcome in worship, Welcome Café, Family Supper on Wednesday night.

(7)    One of our core values is friendliness. Remind you class of this core value:
FRIENDLINESS
We value friendliness.
Through Christian fellowship we develop meaningful relationships with our church family. We value each person as a child of God. We seek to be warm and accepting, extending Christian love to everyone.
(1 John 4:19-21, James 2:8, 23, II John 6, Colossians 3:12-14, Philippians 2:2-5)

(8)    I have a sculpture in my office depicting Eve and Adam at the Tree of Knowledge. You are welcome to use it to help your class reflect on the meaning of this story.


February 8 – Creation Groaning (Romans 8:18-25)

(1)    "My God does not push old ladies down church steps!!!" This was how a pastor began a funeral service for an elderly lady in his church who died after falling down the front steps of the church. He was responding to many comments he had heard from people trying to make sense of the tragedy, comments like, “It’s God’s will.” You can find the illustration here: http://www.sermoncentral.com/illustrations/sermon-illustration-tim-zingale-stories-service-death-funeralschristian-146.asp (The online version of these Sunday School Supplements will include a link.)

(2)    Hospital Volunteers: You can hardly walk into our hospital without running into one of our members volunteering. Maybe a hospital volunteer in your class or in our church could share their perspectives on “suffering in the in-between time” from what they observe in the hospital setting. How are they helping to relieve suffering through their work at the hospital?

(3)    Here is a link for an article in ministry magazine, “Hospital Visitation: An Important Ministry for Elders.” This concise article contains fourteen helpful hints. The online version of these Sunday School Supplements will include a link or I can make a printed copy for you. https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1993/05/hospital-visitation-an-important-ministry-for-elders

(4)    Who in your class and in our church is suffering now and needs our prayers and care? How can they—how can we—find hope in suffering? Say a prayer for all who are suffering. Discuss how, specifically, your class can care for those who are suffering. How can we be the presence of God for them? How can we share hope with those who are suffering?

(5)    When we think of ministry with those who are suffering, there are many additional ways our church is involved, which you could highlight: Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, African Refugees in Morocco, Haiti, Nada, Soup’s On Us, and more.


February 15 – Creation Redeemed (Revelation 21:1-7)

(1)    For a dramatic reading of this scripture passage use, The Bible Experience, read by top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers. See Keith for how to play this for your class.

(2)    This scripture passage is often used at funerals. Ask Tommy to discuss, from his perspective, why it is used and what it means for families in that setting? Class members who have experienced loss might discuss what this passage has meant to them.

(3)    Illustrations and descriptions of Jerusalem and the Temple:
a.    “Jerusalem,” Jesus and Paul: Places They Knew, F. F. Bruce (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981), pp. 51-59.
b.    An excellent illustration of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus in The Historical Atlas of the Bible: A Visual Guide from Ancient Time to the New Testament, Dr. Ian Barnes (New Jersey: Cartographical Press, 2006), pp. 294-295.
c.    Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Bible, John Drane, editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), pp. 204 (contemporary), 186.
d.    The World of the Bible, Roberta L. Harris (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), pp. 133-134.
e.    Foundation stones in the New Jerusalem referenced later in the chapter: A Visual Guide to Bible Events (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009) p. 541.

(4)    Heaven on Earth: This passage presents a picture of a perfect future. We say that the Kingdom of God is “already and not yet.” Part of our mission as a church is to recreate God’s kingdom in our midst, as much as we are able until that day God’s Kingdom is fully realized. Ask your class to name some examples and illustrations of Heaven on Earth that they see in the life of LABC and beyond. For example, in worship, in ministry, in fellowship.