There's something about the way we're wired that makes us connect with stories. Have you ever thought about how much stories have shaped your life? Maybe it's the stories about your heritage, or the stories you grew up reading, like Robin Hood, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. No matter what kind of stories you like, they all have something in common: they make us open our eyes to a new world and let us experience something in a different time or place. They make us care. They make us feel for characters we will never meet, and who we may have very little in common with. In fact, research shows that stories are linked to our ability to care for others and nurture a sense on empathy. Finally, they make us hope. A great story will draw us in to the life of a character that's fraught with adversity and conflict and we resonate with their struggle to push through.
But stories aren't really powerful on their own. The magic of a story happens when it connects with our imaginations. Without imagination, you can't see past what you already know. Without imagination, you can't care how someone else feels. Without imagination, you can't hope beyond your present situation. Now here's the remarkable thing: the God who created our minds, the One who fashioned our desire to connect with stories, has crafted a story for us.
I don't know if you've ever had to explain the Bible to anyone recently. I had a friend ask me why I believe the Bible, since it's "just a book." I tried to explain, the Bible is way more than just a book. It's actually 66 books, written by 40 authors over 16o years. And it all comes together to tell ONE story. One messy, tragic, sometimes confusing, overarching narrative about God's loving pursuit of us, His children.
It's possible to grow up reading the Bible, but never truly understanding the story. It's possible to know the information, but never see how the pieces fit together. In the end, it's not just about the stories. It's about the One who authored the story, who pursues us and wants to bring us into the story with Him! We're not so much worried about understanding the story of God, but to fall in love with the God of the story.
For the next two months, we'll be taking a step back to look at the bigger picture of what God has done and what He is doing in the world. Join us as we seek out the One who has done, and is doing, amazing things, and has a place for us to join in!
Week 1: Paradise
Bottom Line: In the beginning a good God created a good world that reflected how good He is.
Scripture: Genesis 1:1,10, 26-31
Week 2: Exposed
Bottom Line: When sin entered the world, everything was broken, but God didn’t abandon His creation.
Scripture: Genesis 3:1,6, 22-26
Week 3: Promise
Bottom Line: God initiated a promise with His people even though they didn’t deserve it.
Scripture: Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1,5-6
Week 4: Faithful
Bottom Line: No matter what Israel did or didn’t do, God never deserted His people or His promise.
Scripture: Exodus 6:2-8, Numbers 14:2-4
Week 5: The Rock
Bottom Line: God fulfilled what He promised in Jesus, who demonstrated a new way to live.
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-27
Week 6: The Cross
Bottom Line: Jesus gave His life to rescue those who put their faith in Him.
Scripture: Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23
Week 7: Sunday
Bottom Line: Jesus Christ defeating death proved God had a plan since the beginning.
Scripture: Luke 24:1-8; Romans 8:11
Week 8: Go
Bottom Line: Jesus' followers shared His message of love with the world.
Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20