“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth... Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
– Isaiah 40:28a, 30-31

The focus this week

So the eternal God of the Universe created you. So what? There is a God who has given
you everything you are and everything you have and everything you ever will know.
How shall we treat the gifts? How shall we treat the Giver?

 Stupid Fish:

Set a goldfish bowl on a table and try to teach the fish the verse of the week. Draw a chart or project the words and point them out with a stick. Grow increasingly frustrated when the fish won’t recite the verse back to you. Next, invite a pet dog into the teaching space and tell the dog you would like it to teach the verse to the fish. Explain the verse to the dog, then set it before the bowl to teach. Grow frustrated when the dog won’t teach. Finally, set the animals aside and ask the group what was wrong with your teaching methods. Weren’t you loud enough? Clear enough? Were your diagrams in the wrong colors for the fish and dog? Pull up a chair and pose a question for your group: How can humans hope to understand God? How can a finite mind understand the infinite? A fish can’t understand a dog, let alone a person. It can react to the dog, but it doesn’t have the capacity to wonder what the dog is thinking. It is on a lower intellectual level. A dog can’t understand everything its master thinks. It may understand the rattle of the food dish, a pat on the head, and a child’s cry as a signal of alarm. But if the master begins spouting algebra or teaching Bible verses, we wouldn’t expect the dog to understand. It is on a lower intellectual plane. A higher being can understand a lower being, but lower beings can’t completely understand higher beings. We can catch glimpses in nature that there is a God, but we cannot begin to grasp God in totality. What would you say to people who say they can’t believe in God because they can’t understand God?

 Wreck Creation:

† What’s the difference between “recreation” and “wreck creation”?
Begin by talking about the importance of physical exercise, taking good care of your body and recreation. Stage an actor to interrupt and say you are not supposed to “wreck creation.” This person says that God made the world and you should take better care of it. You try to explain that you are talking about “recreation” and that it is important for people to find healthy recreational outlets. The actor can’t be persuaded and sticks to his or her line that wrecking creation is against God’s will. After this person leaves, share this quotation: “Americans worship their work, work at their play and don’t have much energy left for their worship.” If you only work, you will “wreck creation.” How can you lead a more healthy, balanced life in worship, work and play? If the purpose of “re-creation” is to re-create, how can you be sure that play doesn’t tear you down? Break into

More Than a Distant God:

† Write the word “Abba” on the board in huge letters.
Share how Jesus called God “daddy.” Through Jesus we can have an intimate relationship
with God, our “daddy.” Read and highlight Mark 14:36, and write the word
“daddy” in the margins. Divide the following verses among youth or small groups to
A baby is God’s
opinion that the
world should go on.
– Carl Sandburg
H2H: Apostles’ Creed 1— 5
be read aloud. Write a key word from each in the margins of Bibles: Romans 8:14-
17; Galatians 4:6; John 14,15 and 17; Luke 15:11-32 (Prodigal Son); I John 3:1. An
excellent resource for this topic is Abba’s Child (Navpress) by Brennan Manning.

 Image of God:

Compare Genesis 1:27 (humankind in God’s image) to Jesus’ words
about paying taxes to Caesar in Matthew 22:20. Ask: “Our taxes belong to the government,
but according to Jesus, what belongs to God?”