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DURING THE WEEK If you’re using this resource in a weekly small-group setting, encourage participants to increase the

impact of each story in their lives by doing some exercises and activities between sessions. One of the best ways to reinforce the message is to retell the story to others — family, friends, and anyone else you can think of. Even people you think aren’t interested may be willing to let you ‘practice» on them. The retelling process not only helps you get God’s truth into your heart, it might open theirs as well. You can also dramatize the story with family or friends, make up a song with the memory verse or the story’s theme, draw a scene from the story in order to help you retain a visual memory of it, or come up with any other experiential activity you can think of. Feel free to be creative. God has given us five senses and a variety of learning styles, and the more of them we use, the more we learn. In a small-group setting, these activities could be collaborative and of the moment, assigned as homework to bring back to the class in the next meeting, or simply suggested for each participant to use as he or she chooses. During the week is a good time to practice any verses you’ve chosen to memorize. You can write the verses on index cards or type them into a handheld device and carry them with you wherever you go. That’s a great way to maximize downtime that would otherwise be lost standing in line or waiting for appointments. Review your verses as often as possible; even a brief look can help establish them in your memory. Another great way to dive deep into a biblical story is to look at that story from a variety of different angles. Put on a specific set of “lenses” through which you will view the week’s story each day, and you will be amazed at how many insights and applications open up to you. You can use the suggested patterns below or come up with one of your own. Look Upward How does this story apply to your relationship with God? What does it teach you about Him — His will and His heart? What aspect of His character is He inviting you to experience and enjoy? How will you benefit by applying the truths of this story in your relationship with God? How will God benefit? What practical steps can you take to live out these truths in your relationship with God? Look Inward How does this story apply to your heart and your own spiritual growth? What does it teach you about yourself, your needs, or your goals in life? In what aspects of your personal life is God inviting you to grow and mature? How will you benefit by applying the truths of this story inwardly? How will those around you benefit? What practical steps can you take to allow these truths to help you grow spiritually? Look Around How does this story apply to your relationship with others? What does it teach you about how to see others and relate to them? What is God inviting you to do differently in your relationships? How will you benefit by applying the truths of this story in your relationships? How will others benefit? What practical steps can you take to live out these truths in your relationships? Look Forward

When God said. «Let there be . What are some of the ideas people have about how the world began? What do they say is the meaning of life? Who are considered the experts on this topic? Now as you listen to the story. The earth was shapeless and empty and dark. and years. Then on the second day. He blessed them all to ‘be fruitful and multiply. philosophers. On the fourth day. God said.” there was light. both in this age and in eternity? What does it teach you about God’s plan for your life. now and forever? What aspect of eternity is God inviting you to participate in? How will you benefit in the future by applying these truths now? How will God’s kingdom benefit? What practical steps can you take to impact eternity now with these truths? CREATION In the Beginning THEME God creates everything.How does this story apply to your future.” He looked at all He had made and said it ‘was good. «Let the earth bring forth plants.” and they all reproduced according to their own kind.) He separated light from darkness and called it ‘day and ‘night.” or sky. but God’s Spirit hovered over the waters. Before we start. PREPRE-STORY DIALOGUE Today we want to talk about the answers given by the One who was there at the beginning. He began creating animal life the same way He had created everything else. We want to talk about Creation — where everything carne frorn and how our world began. think about some of the answers people give for these big questions. months. He made the sun and moon and stars to give light during the day and the night. God stretched out an expanse above the waters and called it ‘the heavens. (That’s how He created everything — by speaking. ‘Let there be light. people have asked life’s big questions: How did this world begin? What is the meaning of life? Where is it all headed? Why am I here? While plenty of answers for these questions have been suggested by scientists. think about the following questions: What was there in the beginning? Where did everything that was made come from? Where do human beings fit into the story of Creation? TELL THE STORY In the very beginning. God made the heavens and the earth. He separated the waters by creating dry land. and it is good. just by speaking them into existence: first creatures of the sea and birds in the air. On the fifth and sixth days. PASSAGE/REFERENCE Genesis 1—2 BACKGROUND From ancient times to today. Then on the third day.” That was the first day of creation.1” and then it was there.” and plants began to grow — grass and trees and all kinds of seed bearing vegetation so the plants could reproduce themselves. then land animals of all kinds. and He called the land ‘earth” and the waters ‘seas. most human beings still consider these questions a mystery. . He set the sun and moon in the sky and planned their times and seasons to give us days. and anyone else with a sense of curiosity. He would say.

and it was very good. He looked at it all and said it was ‘very good. when He had finished everything. He formed the man out of dust.” He gave them a beautiful place to live: a garden they would work in and take care of. Genesis 1:31 KEY KEY APPLICATION . in the image of God he created him. He united them together and said they were ‘one flesh. God looked at what He had made and said it was good. does the world seem to be an accident or a well-planned design? What evidence is Why do you think the Spirit hovered over the waters? What was He doing? Do you think creation is still good? How do you think it is different now than it was when God In what ways are human beings made in God’s image? How are we different than everything else He created? Why do you think He designed us to be like Him? What does this say about our value to God? How does that make you feel? What does it mean for human beings to subdue the earth or have dominion over it? In what ways do you think we could abuse this assignment? How can we carry it out responsibly? What does this story tell us about God’s design for marriage? What does this story tell us about God? What is He like? How powerful is He? What is valuable to Him? What characteristics of His do we see in this story? How does it affect our lives if we believe that God made everything we can see? there in the story for your answer? first made it? QUESTIONS FOR FAMILIES/CHILDREN • • • • • • Who made everything? Did God do a good job when He made the world? How do ive know? In what ways did He show how creative He is? How do you think we should treat the world God made? How did God make us different from the animals? Why do you think God made each of us able to know Him and talk with Him? How does this story show us that each of us is extremely special to God? What do we know about God from this story? What do we know about ourselves? MEMORY VERSES So God created man in his own image.” just as He had blessed the animals. . and He gave the man and woman a command to ‘fill the earth and subdue it.” He made man to have authority over all the other creatures and over the earth itself. Every step of the way. male and female he created them. But after He made human beings.We are to value all the people and things God has created. He made both male and female and blessed them to ‘be fruitful and multiply.” Then on the seventh day God rested. God made human beings in His own image — designed to be just like Himself. but still on the sixth day. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS • • • • • • • • • • What existed “in the beginning”? In this story. but the man was alone so God made the woman out of the man.Finally. and He blessed that seventh day and set it apart for rest. Genesis 1:27 God saw all that he had made.

Job: Pain. Heaven or Hell: The Great Divide 44. Fall: Paradise Lost 3. Joshua: Into the Promise 15. Isaac: A Promise Fulfilled 7. and Patience 21. Jesus’ Temptation: The Truth Is Tested 30. Saul: A King’s Compromise 18. Prayers. Prayed. Betrayed: The Moment of Crisis 47. and a ‘Mighty Warrior’ 16. Promises. Solomon: A Dwelling Place for God 20. Moses: A Momentous Mission 10. Daniel: No Compromise 25. Demoniac Delivered: The Good News of Freedom 39. Resurrected: The Beginning of the New Creation 49. Nicodemus’s Second Birth: Looking to Jesus in Faith 33. Creation: In the Beginning 2.CONTENTS 1. Crucified: The Ultimate Sacrifice 48. Revealing the Kingdom: God’s Reign Now and Forever 42. Crowd Filled: The Bread That Satisfies 36. Isaiah: Visions of Things to Come 24. Red Sea: Escape Through the Waters 12. Storm Stilled: Fear. Reach the World: A God-Sized Mission 51. Zacchaeus Praised: A Life-Changing Encounter 38. Esther: Fear and Faith in a Crisis 26. Learning to Pray: Priorities. Ruth: Restored and Redeemed 17. Passover: A Dramatic Deliverance 11. Jesus Heals the Paralytic: Authority to Forgive and Restore 32. Jesus Ascends: Awaiting His Return 52. Flood: Regrets and a Rescue 4. Tried. Faith. Jacob: Encounters with God 8. Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet 23. Restored to Serve: After Denials and Doubts 50. Elijah: A Spiritual Showdown 22. Last Supper: Celebrating a Greater Deliverance 46. Ten Commandments: The Making of a Covenant 13. Nehemiah: Tenacious Faith 27. Fear. Woman at the Well: A Different Kind of Drink 34. Declaring the King: A Foundation for the Church 43. and Persistence 40. Seeking the Lost: An Unexpected Mission 41. Lazarus Raised: Victory over Our Worst Enemy 37. Jesus’ Birth: Promises and Prophecies Fulfilled 28. Twelve Spies: Faith Versus Unbelief 14. Washing Their Feet: Greatness Through Serving 45. Joseph: A Painful Providence 9. David: Wholehearted Love and Faith 19. Jesus Calls the Disciples: Becoming a Follower 31. and the Power of Jesus 35. Gideon: Oppression. Spirit Descends: Promised Power from Above . Nations: The Tower of Babel 5. Abraham: A Promised Blessing 6. Jesus’ Baptism: A Heavenly Endorsement 29.