We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard... because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
– President John F. Kennedy
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:16-17
History forever changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched the satellite Sputnik I into space. Although the spacecraft was only about the size of a beachball, the impact it had on the American psyche was immense. This was the Cold War era — a time of tension between the nations — and it seemed to the Americans that the Russians were keeping one step ahead in the space race. The fear was that the Soviets would soon hold dominance in outer space and be able to rain down nuclear missiles at will on cities in the United States.
Clearly, something had to be done to tip the scales. The engineers in America’s fledgling space program quickly got to work to solve the problem. But in the months that followed, it became apparent just how far the United States was behind Russia when it came to sending a craft into space. The nation’s first attempt at a rocket launch on December 6, 1957, didn’t even make it four feet into the air before it blew up. It was quickly dubbed “Flopnik.”
President John F. Kennedy also recognized the crisis that Sputnik I presented. But his solution was nothing that anyone expected. Kennedy’s bold plan was to leapfrog the Russians and win the space race outright by being the first nation to send a man to the moon and return him home safely. The problem was that when he announced this “moonshot,” everyone at the space agency knew that almost none of the technology or infrastructure that would be needed to make it happen had yet been invented!
Kennedy was undeterred. “We set sail on this new sea,” he said, “because there is to be new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won... But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal?... We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and to do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”3
What President Kennedy proposed was ambitious. It was overwhelming and crazy. But as we will see in this first session, the same could be said of a different kind of mission that God announced in a “speech” back in the Garden of Eden. The world’s first humans had just fallen prey to Satan’s temptations and disobeyed God, ushering sin and death into the world. It was a crisis in the skies. But God had an ambitious plan for our salvation.
If you or any of your group members are just getting to know one another, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Then, to kick things off, discuss one of the following questions:
• What comes to mind when you think of NASA and the space program?
— or —
• What stood out to you about this study and what do you hope to gain from it?
Invite someone to read aloud the following passage. Listen for fresh insights as you hear the verses being read, and then discuss the questions that follow.
What is the promise that this passage offers for those who believe in what Christ has done?
Play the video segment for session one. As you and your group watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
In 1961, President Kennedy delivered what would become known as the “moonshot speech.” He said that America was going to take back the air and reclaim the high ground that is outer space.
But God’s plan was even more complex, more crazy, and more audacious than John F. Kennedy’s moonshot scheme. He chose to leapfrog past all the problems of sinful humanity by sending his Son, Jesus, to the earth to die on the cross, rise from the dead, and save us from our sins.
We’ve heard before that the cross is necessary for us to be forgiven from our sins. But we need to understand that the cross is also there to help us with our secrets.
The cross is not just a rescue mission to save us from our sins but also to help us see our secrets in a brand-new light — those parts of us that are just more interesting because they are damaged.
God gave us the gospel and sent his Son into the world to die for us. He now wants us to go out with that same message and work as one to restore the hope of a lost and fallen humanity.
There is a weight to sin. God allowed Jesus, His Son, to deal with that heavy weight of sin so that we would have the fear of death and have the pain taken off of us.
The Hebrew word for forgiveness — the Hebrew word that describes the weight of sin being taken away — is nasa. Our God is a God who forgives and takes away the weight of our sin.
Just as John F. Kennedy’s plan changed the course of world history, so God’s plan has changed the course of all eternity, giving us a possibility for life where previously there was only death.
Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts together.
1. America faced a “crisis in the skies” in the late 1950s. How would you describe that crisis? What was President Kennedy’s bold solution to address the situation?
2. Read Ephesians 2:1-4. What is the “crisis in the skies” taking place in the spiritual realm? What was God’s bold solution to address this situation?
3. Just like the moon, we all have a “dark side” that we try to keep hidden — those parts of us that have been damaged. Why do we tend to hide these parts from others?
4. Read 2 Corinthians 12:6-10. What does Paul say about his weaknesses? How have you seen God use a weakness in your life and turn it into a strength?
5. Read Exodus 34:6-7. What does God say about His character in these verses? How have you experienced the power of God’s forgiveness in your life?
6. God can bring change in your past, your present, and your future. As you begin this study, in which of these areas would you most like to experience change?
Briefly review the outline for the video teaching and any notes you took. Write down the most significant point you took away from this session.
One of the most important things you can do together in community is to pray for each other. This is not simply a closing prayer to end your group time but a portion of time to share prayer requests, review how God has answered past prayers, and actually pray for one another. As you close your time together, thank God for his bold rescue plan for humanity. Ask him to search your heart and forgive you for your sins. Confess your desire to find your identity in Jesus. And pray for God’s love to saturate not just our world but the entire universe. Use the space below to write down any specific prayer requests or praises for the coming week.
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Let us know your thoughts on Last Supper on the Moon. We'd love to hear from you in the comments!