Faith

Based on: Genesis 12:1-4

I am very glad to see all of you sitting and not standing.  It means that all of you have faith in the pews.  Right?  After all, if you did not believe that the pew would hold you up then you would all still be standing up.  I know most of you have been in these pews before and you know from experience that they will hold you up, but what if you go somewhere you have never been before and you see a chair?  The very shape of the chair holds out a promise, “If you sit on me, I will hold you up!”  The shape suggests that it was made for sitting and so you put you faith in the chair. You believe  the promise of “I will hold you up!” implied by the shape of the chair.  Then, your faith leads to action.  Because you so firmly believe the promise the chair makes, you sit down.  Now you are blessed by your action based on faith – your feet get to rest.

It may seem silly to talk about having faith in a chair, but we use that simple illustration to describe faith in God’s promises, and we will do that in the context of Abraham, the man of faith.

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Deliverance by Disaster

Based on: Genesis 6:17-18

I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

In the early 1800s the British East India Company controlled much of what is now the country of India.  In 1857 many Hindus rebelled and threatened to kill as many of the English people as they could.  As the rebellion began one young child was separated from her parents. One man went to get her and put her on his horse.  They rode through the riots that had begun in the streets as the the little girl’s rescuer defended her from people who wanted them both dead.  When they reached the girl’s parents, the little girl was furious.  To her the trip was a disaster.  She had been forced away from her friend, held too tightly, and bounced around way to much.  Yet, by this disaster she was delivered from those who would have killed her.  Think about deliverance by disaster as we remember the flood at Noah’s time and as we consider the disasters of our own life.

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Flood Legends

Our brief overview of Old Testament history in summer worship and Bible class will bring us next to Noah’s flood.  According to an article in the Answers in Genesis magazine, there are hundreds of ancient stories about a disastrous flood from cultures all over the world.  The stories are not identical to the account in Genesis chapters 6-8, but they do share interesting similarities.  Here are some examples cited in the article:

Hawaiians have a flood story that tells of a time when, long after the death of the first man, the world became a wicked, terrible place. Only one good man was left, and his name was Nu-u. He made a great canoe with a house on it and filled it with animals. In this story, the waters came up over all the earth and killed all the people; only Nu-u and his family were saved.

Another flood story is from China. It records that Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters escaped a great flood and were the only people alive on earth. After the great flood, they repopulated the world.

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What’s the big deal?

Based on: Genesis 3

Today we begin a journey through the Old Testament.  Throughout the summer months we will take a look at some of the  events that preceded the coming of our Savior.  We will notice that the Old Testament continually points us to Jesus Christ and we will watch as God works throughout history to bring us the Savior we need.

The first event to look at is Adam and Eve and their sin against God. What happened in the Garden of Eden effects all of us deeply.  It is the beginning of our need for a Savior.  We heard a portion of Genesis 3 in our first lesson for today.  For now let’s hear about the events leading up to that reading – Genesis 3:1-7:

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A Teachable Moment

Based On: Genesis 22:1-18

Have you ever had a child hurt himself or herself while doing something you had just told them NOT to do?  You have in that situation a teachable moment.  The event has created a unique learning opportunity for the child. So, after you take care of the immediate medical emergency you sit down with the child and gently say, “Do you understand why I told you not to do that?  You know, Mom and Dad love you and when we tell you not to do something it is for your good.”  The idea is that the unpleasant experience will make the lesson more memorable.  It doesn’t always work.

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A New Name

Based on: Genesis 32:22-31

“I am between a rock and a hard place – there’s no way out.”  Have you ever heard someone say those words? Have you ever felt trapped – you cannot move forward and you cannot move back?  Yes, even Christians feel this way sometimes.  Paul said he was "hard pressed on every side."  In the psalms King David talks about his enemies encircling him. 

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