The Bible is a big story. It’s the story of the beginning. It’s the story of God’s people. It’s the story of a great rescue. And, ultimately, it’s the story of you and me—and the love God has for His people. Each part of God’s story is richly connected to the next and has something to say to every one of us. So, let’s take a journey through the story and discover a God who has something to say to us, here and now, through a story that started “In the beginning.”

Session One: Paradise (June 11)
Bottom Line: In the beginning, a good God created a good world that reflected how good He is.
Our experiences in this big place called Earth often leave us unsure of what we are doing here, and on our darkest days it can cause us to question who is in control. This feeling of randomness and confusion isn’t unique to us; it has existed since the beginning of time. When the first words of Genesis were written, the writer was telling us something that speaks to the deepest questions of existence. In the beginning, there was a good God engineering it all. While the world changed drastically because of sin, the nature of God didn’t. We may still feel like life is a random series of events or a movie that we showed up to late, but the first words spoken in Genesis give us context for the story and a picture of the God who is authoring all of history.

Session Two: Exposed (June 18)
Bottom Line: When sin entered the world, everything was broken, but God didn’t abandon His creation.
You don’t have to look very far before you come face to face with hurt, pain, and brokenness in our world. As much as we don’t like it, it is a reality we live with. And anytime we encounter it, we can’t help but ask “why”? Why disease? Why death? Why sin? Why insecurity? Why anything that seems to combat a good God? How did we get here? As God’s story continues, we are presented with the place where things take a turn:  a snake outsmarts humanity and, as a result, the world exists as we know it. But we are left wondering, how does God fit into it all?

Session Three: Promise (June 25)
Bottom Line: God initiated a promise with His people, even though they didn’t deserve it.
After such a low point in the continuum of God’s story (after the garden), it is hard to imagine how things could begin to look up. But the goodness of God wasn’t lost in the brokenness of humanity. God pursued a man named Abraham and He made a promise to Abraham:  promise that had nothing to do with what he could or couldn’t do. Following one of the lowest points in the story, God continues to make sure we haven’t lost His message. He is for us, and He wants a relationship with us—and we didn’t do a thing to earn it.

Session Four: Faithful (July 2)
Bottom Line: No matter what Israel did or didn’t do, God never deserted His people or His promise.
Life rarely takes us in a straight line. There are peaks and there are valleys. And chances are, the time spent in the valleys are times when God feels distant—maybe even mad at us and inconsistent. The Hebrew people, the people God chose to be in relationship with, found themselves in enough valleys that no one would have faulted God if He had left them. But God’s story tells us of one thing over and over:  His faithfulness. If God didn’t abandon Israel, we are in a good place. God won’t call it quits on us, and the sooner we believe that, the better off we will be.Session Five: The Rock (July 16)
Bottom Line: God fulfilled what He promised in Jesus, who demonstrated a new way to live.
Maybe you can relate to the feeling of being in a situation you thought was hopeless. It was a done deal. Over. Finished. You considered the chapter closed. That was how the people of Israel felt: like God was done with them. He was silent. There was no indication things would change. Until Jesus showed up. And what Jesus taught and how Jesus lived gave the people of Israel every indication that the story wasn’t over yet. God wasn’t done with them yet. He was up to something. He used His Son Jesus to demonstrate a way to live that was more than the right thing to do—it was the smart thing to do. Because it offered people a foundation worth building their lives on—a foundation for the people during Jesus’ time, but also a foundation for us.

Session Six: The Cross (July 23)
Bottom Line: Jesus gave His life to rescue those who put their faith in Him.
The cross was the turning point of history—no doubt about it. It changed the story forever. If we have grown up in church, we know this. We also know it should be the turning point of our own lives too. And it is—or at least feels like it is—for awhile. But then we find ourselves falling back into the same old habits, falling into familiar patterns, and it starts to feel like we just can’t get it right. But the cross already did something incredible:  it forever changed the trajectory of our lives. It was a demonstration of God’s love. We can live in that. Accept that. Relish that. And begin living in light of that. Because of the cross, we don’t have to do a thing. It has already been done for us.

Session Seven: Sunday (July 30)
Bottom Line: Jesus Christ defeating death proved God had a plan since the beginning.
Pain is a part of the story—everybody’s story. And for the disciples, the day they saw Jesus die was a day when their pain had probably never felt more real. It seemed like God had abandoned and forgotten them. That was on Friday. But then Sunday came—and Jesus was alive! This plot-twist changed the world of the disciples. But it still means something for us today. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that God has a Sunday—someday—for all of us. One day, all the pain, all the brokenness, and all the hurt will be gone. The resurrection is a guarantee of the someday we all long for—of a world made right when our current world feels so wrong.

Session Eight: Go (August 6)
Bottom Line: Jesus’ followers shared His message of love with the world.
Have you ever wondered why we do what we do every week at church? What did Jesus really have in mind for us as we follow Him? In one of His most famous speeches, Jesus tells the people who have gathered to hear Him that their job (their purpose, as His followers) is to be light in the world. What if we started taking this responsibility more seriously? What if we took this to heart and started creating light in a dark world, guidance in a confusing reality, and hope in a broken place? We were asked to be the light and if we do it right, we can transform the people—and ultimately the world around us—by participating in God’s big story the way He always intended.