The first article of the Apostle’s Creed focuses on God the Father, the creator and sustainer of all life.
The Triune God
Read Matthew 28:19
Circle: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Margin: Write “3 in 1” and circle it.
One of the mysteries of God is that He is one God, yet there are three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). All three are God completely, and yet there are not three Gods, but one. By examining each “person” of the Trinity, we can more clearly and completely understand who God is and how He interacts with His people.
God the Father
Read Job 38:1-7
Underline: Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Margin: God created the earth
Read Hebrews 11:3
Underline: By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God
Read Genesis 1:26-27
Underline: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Margin: God made humans.
Read Psalm 139:13
Underline: you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
Margin: God created me.
God the Father is the creator of everything. He actively shaped and formed the earth, not though evolution, but by speaking it into existence. Not only did he create the earth and all living things, but He specifically created humans to be in relationship with Him and one another.
However, God is not a “watchmaker.” He didn’t create the world, “wind it up”, and let it run on its own. God continues to provide for His creation. He sends rain and sunshine, so crops can be grown. He provides jobs and income so we can provide for our families. He protects us from harm and danger. He has an ongoing relationship with us, caring for all our needs.
The second article of the Apostle’s Creed focuses on Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In this lesson, we focus on how Jesus is both True God and True Man, and why that matters. Also, despite our sinfulness, He loves us and wants a relationship with us, and will stop at nothing to win us back.
Two “Natures” of Jesus
Read John 1:1-2
Circle: “the Word”
Margin: Write “Jesus” in the margin, then draw arrows connecting “the Word” to Jesus.
Read Matthew 4:2, John 11:35, and John 19:28
Underline the human needs and emotions that Jesus had.
Because God is holy (without sin), He needed a holy (sinless) sacrifice to pay for our sins. The Father knew we could never pay that debt, because we are sinful beings from birth. But the payment had to be made by someone under the Law (ie, a human). Therefore, God chose to send His Son, Jesus, who was truly God (John 1) to be born as a man, and therefore truly human in all respects (Matthew 4, John 11, John 19), only without sin. Jesus was therefore able to be the holy sacrifice the Father required to pay for our sins.
In addition, we know that Jesus is able to empathize with us and understand our needs and wants because He lived as one of us, experiencing the same emotions and feelings that we do. He is not a distant God, unable to understand our daily struggles, but rather one who walked through life with the same struggles we face.
How does Jesus relate to us?
Read John 10:25-30
Underline: I know them.
Margin: Jesus knows me.
Read Luke 15:1-7
Underline: What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
Margin: Jesus pursues me.
Read John 7:53-8:11
Underline: And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Margin: Jesus forgives me.
Read 1 Peter 5:7
Underline: Entire Verse
Margin: Jesus helps me.
Jesus died not only to make the payment for our sin, but to have a relationship with us. He knows all of our joys and fears; all of our strengths and faults. He knows me better than I know myself, and yet He loves me. Like a shepherd who has lost just one sheep, Jesus pursues me, forgives me and helps me in my time of trouble. He doesn’t do this because we deserve it, but because He loves us. He relates to us as friend and brother, always concerned about what’s best for us.
The second article of the Apostle’s Creed focuses on Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In this lesson, we focus on our own fall from sin and the need for a Savior.
The Fall into Sin
Read Genesis 3:1-5
Underline: neither shall you touch it, lest you die.
Margin: No! See Genesis 2:16-17.
Read Genesis 2:16-17
Eve mistakenly added to God’s command (He never said not to touch the fruit, only to not eat it) and the devil took advantage to tempt her to sin. We must be careful to pay attention to what God actually says, not what we think or wish He said.
Read Genesis 3:6-7
Underline: she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Margin: Original Sin
This first sin is referred to as the “original” sin. There are two types of sin: original and actual. Adam and Eve actually committed this sin, but everyone else since then was born with original sin. That means that from the moment we are conceived, we are sinful people, inheriting that sin from our parents, all the way back to Adam and Eve.
The Need for a Savior
Read Genesis 3:8-13
Underline: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” … The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
Margin: Take Responsibility
After the Fall, God confronts Adam and Eve about their actions. Adam’s first instinct is now to blame others (God, this is really your fault for giving me Eve). We try to say things like “The devil made me do it” or blame our friends or siblings. Instead, when faced with sin, we should take responsibility for what we’ve done and ask for God to forgive us.
Read Genesis 3:14-15
Underline: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Margin: Jesus (Messiah)
Read Genesis 3:16-19
Underline: dust you are and to dust you will return.
Margin: Sin Led to Death
After confronting them, God promised hope for Adam and Eve in the form of a Savior, namely Jesus. Jesus would come and defeat sin, death and the devil because we are powerless to do so. After confessing our sin, we place our trust in Jesus, who forgives our sins, not because we deserve it, but because He has paid the price for them. However, as we see in verses 16-19, there are still consequences for our sin. There is death, sickness and suffering in our life because of our sin. Yet God triumphs in the end, bringing eternal life to all who trust in Jesus.
We conclude our Miracles series with the healing of a man born blind. At first, he is unsure of who Jesus is, but this he knows: once he was blind, but now he sees. Jesus would write a story of spiritual blindness healed in our lives today.
Stories are powerful. Well-crafted stories speak to our hearts, drawing us into a greater narrative. They evoke strong feelings in the hearer and inspire action. Stories awaken passions we didn’t know existed.
God is the ultimate storyteller. He has been writing stories for thousands of years in the lives of His people. We’ve heard some miraculous stories these past four weeks: the Resurrection, storms calmed, wine from water, the lame healed and now sight restored. The formerly blind man is called before the Pharisees to tell the story of Jesus’ miraculous healing. Outraged, the Pharisees demand the blind man recant.
He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25
The blind man couldn’t deny the story being written in his life:, that though he was blind, now he saw. His story had only one conclusion: Jesus must be God, for no one else could have healed him.
Today our Confirmands boldly profess that God is writing a story in their lives. Though their stories are different, they are written by one Storyteller. He is weaving their stories together into an even larger one, a story of spiritual healing and renewal in Jesus alone.
What story is God writing in your life? Is it one of healing? Of restoration? Of forgiveness?
Last night, we celebrated our 8th Graders who are getting ready to make their Confirmation this Sunday. It’s a special day in the lives of our students, so we celebrate them at a special banquet every year. Everyone gets dressed up and we put on an amazing spread of food for families.
Each year, we get comments about how great the event is, but especially about the food. That’s all thanks to Mike Hangen and his crew of helpers. This year, that was Anne Miller and Kathy Figini. (Kathy #1 of Kathy, Cathy, Kathy, Cathi, Kathy fame.) The team outdid themselves again this year!
Another special piece of the banquet is that our High School students serve the meal to the 8th Graders. Megan, Shannon, Hope, Kelsey and Anna were our serving crew this year. It’s fun to see them serve, but especially fun for this event as they wait on the “Rising Freshman” as they are starting to be called.
The best part, however, is this is an opportunity for students to get some one-on-one focused time with their parents. Just like with Everyday Faith: My Bible and the Senior Blessing Event, we want to provide opportunities for families to have special moments with their children. For many of the kids, this is probably one of the few times when they’re able to be the sole point of attention for their parents.
As part of the Children’s message, last Sunday, I talked about how God tells us there’s a right order for things in our life. It was all part of Putting God First. And it’s true. God wants to be first in our lives.
I like things in the right order (and centered/level on the wall, but that’s another topic!). It bothers me when they aren’t. A lot.
This year I’ve been working on updating our Cornerstone Curriculum. As part of our confirmation classes, each week the students receive a business card with the scriptures for the day printed on them. Here’s this evening’s:
Well, it’s what this evening’s should have looked like. It actually lists Romans 5:8 second to last. In an attempt to be “on the ball” and “helpful”, I printed the cards before I was finished with the lesson so they could be cut this morning. Then I came in and finished the lesson and decided a different order would be best. So now the verses are in the wrong order.
This isn’t the first time it happened. It’s not really a big deal I suppose. Of course, it ends up being a little game because a number of our youth like the card in order as well. Maybe I should always make one verse out of order on the card.
Tonight at Cornerstone we continue the Lord’s Prayer, looking at “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Our game this evening is Long Live The KING. Let me know your score if you end up playing along!
Two guest small group leaders this evening. My Jaime will be filling in for Sue, who’s at the KINDLE training event in Mundelein, IL. Michelle will be filling in for Darcy. Excited to have them both with us this evening.
We spent last night orienting to a new year of Cornerstone. Last year we had a full class period with no lesson to get acclimated. It seemed to long. This year we tried to just fit it in to the normal class time with a few modifications. There wasn’t enough time. I think next year we’ll try doing a 2-hour first class. We’ll see.
Introduced the topic of prayer before getting into the Lord’s Prayer specifically. The key points from the lesson:
Revelation 22:8-9 | The angel tells John to Worship God alone. It’s a good reminder that we should also pray to God alone. Not to the saints, not to angels, but only God because He’s the only one that can hear and answer our prayers.
Romans 8:26 | The Holy Spirit prays with us. Great news for when we don’t know what to pray.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 | Pray a lot. Find opportunities to pray throughout the day. Maybe it’s between classes, whenever you look outside, before meals, whatever. Look for those opportunities to pray to God.
Matthew 6:5-8 | It’s what on the inside that matters. We don’t pray to be noticed by others. It’s ok to pray in public, but we need to do it from a pure heart.
Matthew 6:9-13 | Here’s where we get the Lord’s Prayer from. Don’t know what to pray? Pray this!
Luke 11:11-13 | Just as earthly fathers know how to give good things to their children, so our Heavenly Father does the same. God gives good. He’s unlike our earthly fathers in that He never fails, forgets or hurts us. God gives good. Jaclyn had a great question on this point. She was reading a book in English class and the boy in the story was being abused by his mother. For six years he prayed to God for help and for six years saw nothing. If God gives good, where was He for this boy? Great question! I love when students make connections to real life from what we discuss at Cornerstone. It’s part of being relevant to today. I told her that sometimes God lets bad things happen to us to prepare us for ministry and to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes we don’t see what the good in this situation is until much later in life. Sometimes, we never understand the good because God is something completely and utterly different. His ways are not our ways.
Jeremiah 23:28 | One of the ways that we “hallow” God’s name is speaking His Word faithfully. We don’t ignore parts or change it.
Matthew 5:16 | Another way we “hallow” God’s name is when we serve and care for others, pointing them back to the Father.
Romans 3:23-24 | We “hollow” God’s name when our actions don’t match our words regarding what God says about how we should live.
Overall, a fun night. Here’s the audio file from the evening: