Lesson 1: Planted on Earth for a Purpose
Focal Passage: Genesis 2-9
This is a large section of biblical material. I know that! However, it is marked by familiar stories – Adam/Eve, Cain/Abel and the entire Noah narrative. In this lesson, you will have the opportunity to examine the big picture as well as look at some particular lives in the context of a discussion about God’s purpose. On the one hand, this lesson offers a chance to be reminded about God’s grand purpose for humanity. In Genesis 2, we read of how Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and had the opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose for humanity. On the other hand, this lesson offers a chance to review how Noah lived in a fallen world and yet discovered his purpose in service to God.
Lesson 2: Abraham: Discovering Purpose
Focal Passage: Genesis 12-15
This passage is also rather lengthy. However, it offers us an opportunity to see Abraham (he is still “Abram” in this narrative) in the context of his life. He is called by God in Genesis 12 and given some great promises by God. He then is tested in life. He is challenged in Egypt to trust God. He has to deal with his nephew Lot in Genesis 13-14. And – his covenantal relationship with God is solidified in Genesis 15. This study will focus on Abraham’s discovery of his purpose and his struggle to be faithful to it. Also, we will see how God reinforces His calling along the way.
Jacob is the first of the Patriarchs who does not make a positive entrance on to the stage. He is deceitful, just as his name indicates. In this narrative we encounter the family dynamic at work in Isaac and Rebekah’s lives. We will use Jacob as a backdrop or case study – and we will focus on the New Testament passage that offers powerful insight on the topic of transformation. Paul addresses both the discovery of the will of God as well as the process of change in a believer’s life. Jacob was – like us – a work in progress. As his story unfolds, he is transformed into a deeply spiritual man who plays a pivotal role in the grand purpose of God.
Lesson 4: Joseph: Planted and Influential
Focal Passage: Genesis 39
Wow! What a story! Joseph emerges from the pit of slavery and becomes a leader in one of Pharaoh’s official’s home. This page of Scripture is a snapshot of Joseph’s life in Egypt. He was at the mercy of Potiphar but found his way into favor. He was “set up” by Potiphar’s wife and cast back in prison. So, the chapter opens with Joseph in prison and closes with him in prison. However, Joseph is already demonstrating how he is using his influence. In this lesson, we will explore the topic of influence and how we can be influential people regardless of our circumstances.
Jesus challenged the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had and come follow Him. The young man was unwilling to obey Jesus. He was reluctant to serve Christ – and He missed the Kingdom of God! Reluctance can lead us to miss out on what God wants to accomplish in our lives. Moses, Gideon and Jeremiah all were reluctant as well. However, each of these men learned to overcome their reticence and follow God. In this lesson we will explore the intersection where we encounter God’s invitation and we hesitate in responding.
In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he closes his comments with a strong admonition to “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). He challenges the Ephesians to “be strong” in the Lord. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by life and overcome by our circumstances. We can question whether or not God can really use us. We often are reluctant to follow God’s call in our lives because we don’t trust ourselves. In this lesson, we will use Joshua as man who learned to trust God and he became a great man of God. We can learn to be adorned by God’s armor and we can learn to walk in His power so that He might use us in our day in service to His kingdom.
Ruth was the victim of tragedy. Her husband died and she had no man to provide for her. Her hope was in her Mother-in-law and in her Mother-in-law’s God. Ruth was from Moab and was not of the house of Israel. She was a widow and in need. Those were hard times for widows and they often became dependent upon the sympathy of the community. Ruth’s story would turn out well. She learned to be faithful to God in the face of her own trials. In this lesson, we will study 1 Peter to discover how God can strengthen us through our own trials. Ruth will serve as an example of how this truth can be lived out in real life.
Daniel was transported to Babylon as a prisoner of war. He was a gifted leader and would be recognized as such – even among the enemy! Daniel made a commitment to remain pure and faithful to his God regardless of the challenges thrust upon him. He walked through the trials and remained holy. We will study 1 Peter 1 and learn how God leads us toward pure and holy lives regardless of our life circumstances.