First things first. The Bible is a story. It’s not an instruction manual or rule book. It is a narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. It has a problem, a climax, and a resolution. It follows a plot from beginning to end. To be sure, the Bible contains bountiful wisdom on how to live well as people within the story – but that wisdom falls within the confines, the context, of the story itself.
The Bible is the epic to end all epics. It spans from Creation (Genesis 1-2) to New Creation (Revelation 21-22). There are villains and cowards and heroes. There is ruin and redemption. Betrayal and forgiveness. Confusion and clarity. Death and resurrection.
In “What’s the Story?”, we’re going to bring the biblical narrative into much clearer focus. The ebbs and flows of the story will begin to make more sense and have more meaning. The Bible will become easier to understand and remember. Reading it will become increasingly fun and enjoyable and life-giving.
Be encouraged – we have quite the journey ahead of us! We’re going to have a great time together! By the grace of God, none of us will ever be the same, and these next four months will be a time worth remembering and celebrating together forever.
Creation. So back to the story… The Bible begins with the creation of everything we know. The universe comes into being at God’s direction, by God’s power, and according to God’s creative intentions. This is the beginning of the story.
New Creation. After many twists & turns and seemingly irrecoverable disaster, the narrative drives ahead to its culmination in the renewal of all creation. In the end, God’s creative intentions are not thwarted by sin or death or evil. This story is not one of second-bests or partial defeats. Everything will be renewed and reunited. In other words, God wins. Entirely. Completely. Thoroughly.
Parameters. Creation and the New Creation are the parameters of our story. There’s a common Christian sentiment that says, “This world is not my home.” But actually, it is! Creation is where God created us to be, and it’s where we’ll be in the end. For the time being, it is in desperate need of renewal and restoration, but creation has always been God’s plan for us.
Being clear about these parameters is the first step in getting our story straight. It’s the first step in rightly discerning our context. And it’s an important step toward understanding the significance of our lives here & now. Knowing where our story began and where it’s heading is the beginning of living well when Jesus is King.
Creation and New Creation define our context. They define the story in which we find ourselves.
The ETERNAL story.
Our lives unfold everyday between Creation & New Creation. Here & now – with every decision, every action, every word, every relationship, every priority – we’re taking our places, determining our roles, and defining ourselves for eternity.
(Excerpt from Reimagining Discipleship)