Discussion sparks for this week comes from Pastor David Mathis’s sermon, “God Writes a Better Story.” The sermon was a recap of our Genesis 1–11 series. He listed out seven summary points built around the theme that God writes a better story for the world (and for our lives) than we ever could.
The seven summary points goes like this:
- God made everything, and his creation is very good.
- God made humans with great dignity and with good limitations.
- God made us male and female.
- God made us to work and rest.
- Human sin is an assault on God and demands his righteous judgment.
- God promises to provide rescue, not wait for us to save ourselves.
- God will give the nations one lip.
Pastor David remarked that today many of us find ourselves doing things that we would have never planned for ourselves back in our most formative years. When we think back to what we used to want to be and do — or when we think back to what used to be central to our affections — it’s amazing to consider what God is doing now. Think about the story you were trying to write for yourself compared to the story that God is writing for you.
Take a minute and cast the old vision for your life. What did you “want to be when you grew up?” Now, what has God done in your life? What is the story he’s writing?
In his fourth summary point, Pastor David talked about the rhythms of work and rest that God has hardwired into the world. He writes,
Have you ever thought how good it is that God made us for a dynamic existence? For movement and respite. For advance and defense. For exertion and recovery. To be awake and to sleep. To work and to rest.
This is so different from how we’d write the story. David said we’d typically fall off on one side or the other —
Perhaps some of us who love the feel of productivity might actually want nonstop work. Others of us would write a story of constant play and entertainment and rest, no work. And we might write a story of static existence, of all adults and no aging and no need for maturing and growth. But God writes the better story. He made us for work and rest, for growth and maturing, for rhythms and stages of life, and all the attendant joys.
What do you think about these rhythms? Where do you feel like you often get it wrong? What are some things that you have tried to help you balance this marvelous reality?
The first eleven chapters of Genesis are dark. There are some wonderful truths there, no doubt. But at the same time, it gets messy. There is sin and rebellion and pride, and the necessary act of God to bring judgment. And yet, it’s in the midst of this darkness that the light of God’s mercy shines the brightest. Pastor David writes,
Even in the midst of this growing depravity and some of the Bible’s darkest stories, and some of the darkest days in the history of the world, the light of God’s mercy begins to shine. We glimpse his grace in a small but growing stream of grace. God will not stand back and leave us to get ourselves out of the mess we got ourselves into. No, he writes a better story. He himself will come. He will be the offspring of the woman. He will crush the head of the serpent.
In whatever “darkness” you might presently find yourself, the light of God’s mercy can shine through. There is hope.
Take a minute and share about a current struggle — about some kind of “darkness” — where you are tempted to lose hope. What in your life feels the most challenging right now? What difference do you think Jesus makes?
[Work together as a group to apply the gospel directly to the situations mentioned. How does the grace and power of Jesus, through his death, resurrection, and Spiritual presence, impact our hardest circumstances?]