Losing the Leaf: Was It Good For You?

Was It Good For You?

SYNOPSIS: As we start this study, we will investigate God’s original plan to connect with Him and others. We’ll begin by looking at who He is and how He created us in His image.

Icebreaker: Play the Marble Game — Give everyone 6 to 8 marbles each. Alternatively, you can use candy, pieces of paper, or another object. Taking turns, (you go first) ask everyone to share something they have never done before. As an example, I have never been sky-diving. Anyone who has done what that person said has to place a marble in the pot. When a person runs out of marbles they are not able to participate anymore. The person with the most marbles left wins. Well sort of, depending on the way you look at it as they have never done anything. Ask participants how the game helped them to get to know each other.

LEADER’S NOTE: Play DVD Week 1 Video Michelle Aguilar from “I Am Second”.

Group Discussion Questions:
1. What were some of your observations from the video?
2. For what was Michelle searching?
3. How do broken relationships affect other relationships in your life?
4. How do broken relationships affect your feeling of self-worth?

Intimacy (defined): a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
1. The state or condition of being intimate; the capacity to relate to another person in an emotionally open, equal, and caring way.
2. An instance of being intimate; a close, trusting, confidential friendship (or personal relationship) between two people who are completely at ease with one another and feel free to express their innermost feelings.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Genesis 1:26–27
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Group Discussion Question:
1. In what ways are we created like God in our attributes, qualities, characteristics, etc.?

LEADER’S NOTES: The First Intimate Community – ”Let Us…” – God refers to Himself, Jesus, and Holy Spirit as the passage begins with “Let Us.” God is Trinity, He is plurality in oneness.

Genesis 2:18–25
18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

LEADER’S NOTES: Oneness and first human community – “It is not good for man to be alone…” How was he alone; Adam was with God in the garden, right? Also, up to this point after everything God created, He said it was good. God was displeased that man was alone. God had Adam name the animals, but no suitable helper was found for him. Remember, God is Trinity, He is plurality in oneness. So, since man was to be created in His image, God needed to create a plurality of persons. The word helper is used not to suggest that Adam needed help working in the garden, but that he needed help not to be alone. So, God put Adam to sleep and formed woman, Eve, from Adam’s rib (some of His best work). God’s supreme achievement was not the creation of a solitary man, but the creation of human intimacy and community. Look back in chapter 1 and read verse 31—after he created everything and He says, “It was very good.”

Group Discussion Questions:
God created a suitable helper because even though Adam had fellowship with God he was alone.
1. In what ways did Eve provide fellowship that possibly God did not?
2. In what ways does the body of believers today provide community?

Genesis 3:1–10
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

LEADER’S NOTES: Sin enters, the Fall and Separation – After sin enters, Adam and Eve both hid from God because they were ashamed. The intimate community that God had created suffered a devastating blow.

Group Discussion Questions:
1. At what point was community broken?
2. Whose fault was it?
3. Did God ever cause them to feel emotions of shame
or guilt?
4. Compare Adam & Eve’s reaction to God’s reaction.

LEADER’S NOTES: The Restoration and Recovery of Oneness – But fortunately for us, God already had a plan because nothing takes Him by surprise. If God were a quitter, the story might have ended at this point. But the Bible insists that God is Love. As a true lover, God never gives up on those He loves. He never jettisoned His eternal project of intimate community building.

Group Discussion Questions:
1. God feels strongly about restoration. Understanding that we are created in God’s image, do you think He would place restoration and reconciliation high on the list of things He desires for us in our relationships with fellow believers?
2. God initiated the reconciliation process with us. As we are created in His image, how can we initiate reconciliation with others? Share how being reconciled to God has affected your life.
3. Share a time in your life when you have experienced reconciliation with a friend or a family member.
4. In what current relationship do you need to experience reconciliation?

Matthew 22:37–39
37 And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.” 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

LEADER’S NOTES: Jesus identifies the two foremost commandments and reinforces his original plan for community, both with Him and each other. The making of an intimate community cannot be a side issue or an optional matter for Christians. It is as important to God as one’s individual salvation. Without intimacy with God and others, there is no Christianity. Intimacy is central to God’s purposes for humankind.

Feel free to ask another member of the group to lead the prayer time. Consider alternatives to simply creating a list of prayer requests. For example, the group could write concerns on paper and pass to another group member to pray over throughout the week or start the prayer/conversation and ask people, in one or two sentences, to share what is currently on their minds.

Group Discussion Questions:
1. Why does Jesus separately mention “heart”, “soul”, “mind”, and “strength” as part of our relationship with Him?
2. Why does Jesus relate loving others to the way we love ourselves?

Take prayer requests and close your meeting time by praying for each other.

Additional Resources