“UnBELIEVEable: Creation”

Message 1: The Beginning
Hasn’t science proven the bible wrong? Isn’t old fashioned Christianity narrow-minded and mean? Some of these “unbelievable” beliefs lay the foundation for faith. In our series UNBELIEVABLE, we take a look at how sometimes a leap of faith is the smartest thing to do. Some things are too good not to be true.
Key Points:
– What we BELIEVE about the beginning directs our other beliefs
– We BELIEVE there exists one present, personal, all-powerful God.
– Only a present, personal, all-powerful God can give value, meaning & hope.
– A present, personal God requires a present, personal response.
– The best news is that Good News begins with the God.
Further Conversation
1. What is one hope you have for this new year?
2. What are some of the common beliefs or theories concerning “the beginning” of all things?
3. Read Genesis 1:1-5 How would explain to someone what it means to believe there is a present, personal, all-powerful God?
4. What value does God give to us? What meaning? What hope?
5. Read Jeremiah 29:11-14 How important is it to you to believe that God has a plan and a purpose for your life? Why?
6. Read John 14:1-6. How important is it to you to believe that God has prepared a place for you for all eternity? Why?
7. A present, personal God requires a present, personal response. How are you responding to God presently?
8. Who do you know that really needs to hear some Good News about a God who loves them? When will you tell them?

Daily Devotion: Go Deeper this Week
Monday – Nehemiah 6:1-9
I remember the great challenge of choosing to live out my faith in college and make wiser decisions. I had lived a wild lifestyle and ran with some crazy guys. When I decided I couldn’t live that way any more, they were not supportive. Oh, they didn’t purposefully seek to sabotage my choices. They simply kept asking me to join them. I loved those guys. But I knew I had to stay focused and live with purpose. I had to make hard decisions to avoid going with them. Just like Nehemiah, I had to keep myself away from those seeking to distract me from what I knew I must do. What purpose are you living for? What or who are the distractions in your life?
Pray: Almighty God, I want to live a life of purpose and engage in great work for you. Please give me clarity & strength to focus.
Tuesday – Romans 12:1-2
How do you decide what to wear? The days of making clothing are long gone for most of our society. Now, we must shop. But where do you shop? Why do you choose those places? Why those styles? Even the most frugal among us must recognize that popular opinion shapes our decisions. (I don’t see anyone wearing bell-bottoms or polyester leisure suits anymore). The world pushes hard to conform us into its mold, and it happens in many other ways than simply fashion. Paul reminds us that real worship is where we commit our entire selves to Christ and we are transformed into HIS likeness. What decisions are you making, and who is influencing you?
Pray: LORD Jesus, you know the pressure the world puts on me to conform to its ways. Today, I offer myself to you to be transformed.
Wednesday – Matthew 5:13-16
I noticed something odd in my living room the other day. We’ve used two large textbooks under a lamp to elevate a lamp… the lamp now sits higher. It all looks and works well sitting on an end table. What struck me is all the effort the writers must have put into crafting two books that simply sit under a lamp. What would they think of all their effort. I bet they were proud of the books. Would they be proud now? We were created for a purpose. Jesus saves us for a purpose. We are meant to be salt and light to a dark world desperate for healing. Yet many of us ignore or avoid our purpose. How about you? Are you living with purpose or are just decoration?
Pray: Creator God, I know I was created for a purpose. I know you have a desire for my life. Help me live into your purpose today.
Thursday – Matthew 6:19-33
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” This is a challenging statement. We have bills to pay. Many of us have families to feed. We have jobs to do. We have bosses to please. Each demand puts pressure on us and influences the decisions we make. If I don’t please the boss, will my family eat? Around and around we go. Yet Jesus paints a different picture. When pressure and worry mount, lean into the Jesus. Trust the LORD. Do the right, righteous, and good things that are pleasing to God. Do so, and God’s promise remains. God will take care of us. Where do you feel pressure and worry? What might God be calling you to do in these moments?
Pray: Heavenly Father, I want to trust you. I need to trust and obey you. When worry hits, help me focus my attention on your purpose.
Friday – Jeremiah 1:4-8
“Do or do not. There is no try.” This is a famous Yoda quote from the movie Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. If you can look past the puppet, the line presents a profound truth. So often we allow a fear of failure or our fear of incompetence to dissuade us from doing the things we know we can and should do. Therefore, we say we will “try.” What we really mean is that we will put forth minimal effort because we are convinced we will fail. Jeremiah feared what God was asking of him. God reminds him that he was created with purpose. You can have confidence that you can do what God has called you to do. Even in failure there is great lessons to learn. We can do the things God has asked. Do you have confidence in God? What holds you back from your purpose?
Pray: Holy Spirit, remind me today who and whose I am. I am yours. You have made me with purpose. I will DO your will today.
Saturday – Luke 4:18-20
Jesus knew his purpose. In the middle of the synagogue he boldly read these words from Isaiah. Everyone knew the implication. These words were written concerning the Messiah, the coming Savior of God. The people we astonished, dumbfounded, even angry. Who did Jesus think he was? Yet Jesus knew exactly who he was…and he wasn’t going to allow the crowd to dissuade him. Who has God called you to be? What is your purpose? What great work are you focused on completing? What pain must you work through? What distractions must you ignore? Live with purpose from God.
Pray: LORD of Heaven and Earth, thank you for your love and work in my life this week. I want to live my life with purpose, pleasing You.