“God has entrusted us, His Church, with the best story in the world. With great ingenuity we have managed, with the aid of much theory, to make that story boring as hell.” – Stanley Hauerwas
If you look at the picture attached to this post, you can see my family is pretty amazing. Everyday I look at my talented and gorgeous wife (I don’t even know how I snagged her), every moment of my 3 child’s lives, I do my best to capture somehow that exact moment in time so I can never forget it. As a family, we haven’t been able to avoid life’s difficulties either. Over the last few years God has really shaped me and helped me understand more of who He is and how He changes the way we react to life’s challenges.
The situations in our life are sometimes so hard to understand; death, divorce, miscarriage, abuse, slavery, greed. I can’t answer some of those questions as I have asked them myself. The way we feel can also be very a very valid emotion. So, why does He allow hardship to happen so often? A lot of questions can stem out of a confusion of who God is, why He has put us here, and then, what we’re supposed to do while we’re here. It’s really all about Him. Oh I know, that seems to be the mantra of everything you here when going to a religious conference or even within the fellowship that you are in. Well, I’m going to say the same thing, it’s all about Him, we just get to play a part in His story. We have an important role too, we are made is His image, that’s a big deal. This idea that we made in His image should cause us to see every human being with immeasurable value.
We might ask, ‘OK, what is the story then?’, well let’s dive in and look at some parallels between history past and the future to come to help give us a wider perspective of time itself rather than only our particular piece in history.
The story begins with God creating the Earth and being beautiful and good (Gen. 1). He creates Adam and Adam sins (Gen. 3), so sin enters the world, and is the place in history where death enters the picture. Abraham is promised a nation (Gen. 12). Moses is called by God to be involved in His story where people are liberated, and is given The Law (Exod. 3, 12, 20) . David reigns as king over Israel (2 Sam. 2). Prophets speak of a coming messiah (Isa. 53:4-6), and then 400 years of silence. King Jesus arrives and everything changes, and He makes all things right. Jesus is as the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45–49) and defeats sin by His death. Jesus is the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). Jesus fulfills the law (Matt. 5:17) given to Moses. Jesus is the King (Matt.1:1) and infinitely greater than David and at the cross defeats the reign of death (2 Tim. 1:10). Who is the hero of the story? Jesus.1
So what’s the big take-away? The story of God has never been at risk, because Jesus is the hero of every scene along the way. A humbling part of it all is that we can be included as He places us right in there as part of the action, even if we get to play just a tiny part. The real question is not whether we’re in the story or not, it’s whether we’re going to be ready to acknowledge for ourselves that Jesus is the hero of the story, and whatever role we get to play we are content because it is for His glory!
Every week there will be memory verses to memorize to etch on your heart, discussion starters for the group, spiritual disciplines to practice, as well as homework for your leader to take note of your comprehension of these biblical concepts of discipleship. Remember, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you insights that you do not understand. The goal is for you to be transformed by God, not merely informed.
Memorize This Scripture
“. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. “
* What part are you playing in a church within God’s story?
* Share with your group (any group of close friends) what part of your journey of where you are at. Share nuggets of information you assume most people know like when you came to know God for real and what role your faith plays in everyday life.
* What part of Jesus being the hero of the story inspires you the most?
Things to Pursue on Your Own
* During your prayer time, try setting aside 10 minutes reading Hebrews 12:2 over and over again. While reading, paint a picture in your mind and visualize God rescuing humanity with wisdom and strength.
* Look at the table below called “God’s Unshakable Design”2 after the lesson and journal about how it impacts your view of God’s sovereign plan for His story and glory. Read Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, as well as Revelation 21. Journal about your exploration of creation and new creation.
* This week, ask a close friend or family member that you really respect as a Christian, to share with you how their journey has played a role in the bigger story of God and how Jesus has been their hero. Journal about your findings.
|GENESIS 1||REVELATION 21|
|Original Creation||New Creation|
|God is Creator / Designer||God is Creator / Designer|
|Humans are image bearers||Humans are sons of God (image bearers)|
|We are designed to love||We are called the bride of God|
|We are designed to worship||We declare the glory of God|
|We are designed for life||There will be no more death|