Chapter 4- Summing up the Story

The Story is a condensed chronological Bible, and in our church-wide journey through it we’re going to discover how our story fits into God’s story. 

Act1slideChapter 4- Deliverance

This Week- Read Chapter 4 in The Story or Exodus 1-7; 10-17

Big Idea: God is a deliverer!

Did you miss Sunday’s Sermon? Check it HERE

Parents Pages (use these for family devotions, discussions and activities)

Possible Routes taken out of Egypt.

Possible Routes taken out of Egypt.

 

– God reveals His Name, His Power, and His Plan.

– In the tenth plague we see a glimpse of God’s plan to save the world through Jesus…the Passover lamb.

– In what ways do we need to most be delivered?

– In what ways does God want to use you                                                                                                   to fulfill His will?

 

Finding our story in God’s story,

Aaron

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Chapter 3- Digging Deeper in the Story

Here’s an article about The Story, enjoy!

Trading in Your Dreams for Another’s

People nearing mid-life often crash into some startling and unexpected observations. For instance, we all dreamed big dreams when we were younger. But as we move at a break-neck pace through our twenties, thirties, and forties, we eventually slam head on into the realization that some of our dreams will never be realized.

That observation throws some people into a mid-life crisis. Some don’t make it that far with their aspirations, having already given them up somewhere along the way. Some run into conflict that makes them weary and they settle for less. Still others make bold decisions to trade one dream in for another.

That’s what Joseph did. Talk about dreams! He had some big ones. At seventeen he dreamed his ten older brothers would bow down to him. It’s enough he dreamed that dream. What makes it worse is that he told his brothers about it.

The older brothers already had issues with the younger son. Their father favored Joseph. He had even given him a valuable, multi-colored coat. That’s the modern-day equivalent of a parent of four teenagers giving one an iPhone and the other three a stack of quarters each for a pay phone (assuming they could find one on their travels). The brothers banded together and tossed the dreamer in a ditch, eventually selling him into slavery at the first opportunity. The next thing Joseph knew he was waking up in Egypt.

From there his life was a rollercoaster thrill ride. One minute a slave. The next in charge of an Egyptian official’s house. The next in prison. The next in charge of the prison. Then he found himself in front of Pharaoh, called upon to interpret the leader’s dreams. With God’s help he was able to warn Pharaoh he would have seven years of abundant crops that he should be put in storehouses in anticipation of seven years of famine. Recognizing his wisdom, Pharaoh put Joseph second in command of all of Egypt.

And because of God’s personal involvement in his life, he was was able to save his family. The same family that God was building into a nation. Joseph was in position to bring his family to Egypt and give them the most fertile land to work. And it was definitely fertile. In the time they were there they were “fruitful and increased greatly” (Exodus 1:7).

Joseph could have lost his life getting caught up in the details of his life, chasing his dreams and desires. Instead, he chose a better story. God’s story.

You can do the same. If your life’s dream has stalled, look to God. If your dream now realized is not all you thought it would be, look to God. He can give you another dream. A better one, not according to the world’s standard but God’s criterion. Just like Joseph’s. Then you’ll have a story to tell.

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Ch. 3- Summing up the Story

The Story is a condensed chronological Bible, and in our church-wide journey through it we’re going to discover how our story fits into God’s story. 

Act1slideChapter 3- From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh

This Week- Read Chapter 3 in The Story

Big Idea: All of us naturally avoid times of struggle, pain, and hardship, but these moments in life might just be the tool God uses to accomplish his will in and through us.

Did you miss Sunday’s Sermon? Check it HERE

Parents Pages (use these for family devotions, discussions and activities)

Holman Bible Atlas

What are some ways you can seek God even when things aren’t going like you expected?

What are some ways you’ve looked back and saw how God worked through painful times in your life?

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Finding our story in God’s story,

Aaron

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Chapter 2- Summing Up The Story

The Story is a condensed chronological Bible, and in our church-wide journey through it we’re going to discover how our story fits into God’s story. 

Act1slideChapter 2- God Builds a Nation

This Week- Read Chapter 2 in The Story

Big Idea: God is going to accomplish His will and he often uses unlikely people to do it. What sin changes (ch. 1), faith overcomes!

Did you miss Sunday’s Sermon? Check it HERE

Parents Pages (use these for family devotions, discussions and activities)

Where is God building or testing your faith right now?

What can you do to trust God more?

Finding our story in God’s story,

Aaron

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Chapter 1- Digging Deeper in the Story

So, let’s talk about Genesis and I’m not talking about Phil Collins and the gang, but the incredibly important first ‘book’ of the Bible. Genesis actually means ‘beginnings’. It comes from the start of the book ‘In the beginning’. It’s more than an appropriate title because in it God creates and we see the beginning of the heavens and the earth, and all of life. We also see the beginning of things like life as God intended it, marriage, sin, struggle, and death.

The Bible launches off with a LOADED statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

The Bible does not try to prove God, but rather makes God the starting point. There are tons of debates around this by itself. God or no God? A God or gods? A God who loves or God who hates? A personal God or a godlike force? A God that is involved with the world, or a God that is distant?

In Genesis we see God as a personal God, who creates, who is powerful, and who is engaged with His creation. If this is our starting point it opens up the miraculous in the Bible, it gives us purpose and it gives us belonging.

However, the tide of our culture has moved towards naturalism taking God out of the equation. Yes, the Bible presupposes God. In that same way naturalism presupposes no God.  While the loudspeakers in our culture would have you believe that all rational people dismiss God, or that naturalism or the theory of evolution are the only intelligent options they only present a piece of the picture. In reality there are many intelligent people who believe in the God who creates. From microbiologist to astrophysicists there are believers in the God of Genesis.

I want to give you 3 quick reasons why I believe in God as Creator.

1)   Because of What I See:

I look around and see a universe that is carefully, and perfectly fit together. When Beth and I were in the hospital ready to have our first baby. The doctor was checking on her and just had a smile on his face. A man who had delivered numerous babies said something to the extant of ‘It’s incredible that all this comes from a single cell, it divides, they divide, then they divide and you have life. And people say it just happened by accident.’ Well my wife is pregnant again (with #3 this time) and we have an avocado sized baby who is brilliantly designed and growing. He/she has a heartbeat, can move its joints, can sense light, and is developing taste buds. It’s incredible.

I look around at the beauty of the world, I see complexity, I see design and to me this points to an artist, an engineer, a designer, God. From the greatness of galaxies to the data in DNA I believe God is brilliantly, creatively, powerfully behind it all.

A classic illustration is if you came across an intricate piece of art (think M.C. Escher) in aEscher desolate field. Would you assume that it just came about through natural causes given enough time? Of course not, you would assume that there was an artist behind this masterpiece. You may not know the details of how it got in the field, but everything points to there being an artist.

Paul even uses this argument in his letter to the church in Rome. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. “ (Romans 1:20).  Even without special revelation from God (The Bible), people can see from creation something about God.

2)   Because of What I Think:

We all have a moral compass. While in the wake of the tragedy of a mass school shooting I guess it’s kind of clear that sometimes this moral compass is screwed up. How could somebody shoot innocent children repeatedly? While the families mourn, our a nation collectively mourns. My neighbors across the street had a bouquet of balloons in the front yard to show her love and support for the families and community of Sandy Hook. We knew what happened on December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary was wrong. We ALL knew it was horrendous to take innocent lives. Children’s lives.

This is an extreme example, but in our hearts we have a moral code. We typically try to be ‘good’ people. We can choose to reject that or to live by it. But what makes us ‘good people’?

The Bible says we are made ‘in the image of God’ and I believe this moral code is God’s fingerprint on our souls.  If we have this universal moral law, then there must be a moral lawgiver. Naturalism may explain away some things, but I don’t believe it takes care of all the issues. It’s reasons like this that moved once atheist C.S. Lewis to believe in God, become a Christian and become a prominent defender of the Christian faith in the 20th century.

3)   Because of What I Feel:

This point is completely Subjective. Subjective doesn’t give you hard evidence, but you also cannot disprove it either. It becomes a ‘he said/she said’ argument. I have felt God’s presence in my life. I have experienced Him work in my life. I haven’t heard the audible voice of God (think James Earl Jones?), honestly that would kind of freak me out. But that doesn’t make His presence any less real. Times when I need Him, times when I worship Him, times when I reject Him and run from Him, He’s there.  Now God isn’t in the business of ‘forcing himself’ on us, or twisting our arms. We can reject Him to the point where He’ll let us have our way, but He’s never far off for those who seek Him. As the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote,

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”

There are many more reasons why we can believe in God, but these are some that keep me convinced.

If you have questions, doubts, or concerns I would check out some resources under the ‘Evidences’ heading under our resources tab: www.cfisforlovers.com/#/resources 

And of course, if you have questions I would love to talk and help in any way that I can because I believe that God made you, loves you, and wants you to know Him!

Peace,

Aaron

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Chapter 1- Summing Up The Story

The Story is a condensed chronological Bible, and in our church-wide journey through it we’re going to discover how our story fits into God’s story. 

Act1slideChapter 1- The Beginning of Life as We Know It

This Week- Read Chapter 1 in The Story

Big Idea: People are the pinnacle of God’s creative work, and he is in relentless pursuit of a relationship with each of us.

Did you miss Sunday’s Sermon? Check it HERE

Parents Pages (use these for family devotions, discussions and activities)

Check this video we used on Genesis 3 during our service HERE

Finding our story in God’s story,

Aaron

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Upper Story/Lower Story

The Story is a condensed chronological Bible, and in our church-wide journey through it we’re going to discover how our story fits into God’s story. 

We’ve been talking about this Upper Story and Lower Story a lot. Check this out and I hope it helps you understand the nature of the Bible better.

“The Bible contains an Upper Story and a Lower Story. The Upper Story tells the big picture, the grand narrative of God unfolding throughout history. The Lower Story contains the sometimes delightful, other times appalling particulars of human experience. Without the lens of the Upper Story, the Lower Story seems out of focus and perplexing. As we make our way through the Bible- The Story- we will be mindful of both the temporal, easily-seen events, and the not so obvious yet truly eternal realities. In the opening chapters of Genesis, the two stories are virtually one. God, who is love, creates the universe, and palaces humanity at the crown of all he brings into existence. Man and woman, as individuals and also in their collective, reflect God’s image. People are both the objects of God’s love and lovers in return.

But when the first man and woman choose to reject rather than respond, the Upper Story transitions to God’s relentless pursuit and restoration of what was lost. That Upper Story never changes even to the last chapter of the Bible. The details in the Lower Story describe the many ways people mostly- with a few notable exceptions- resist God, and wreak havoc with themselves and each other. In trying to be God, people ruin what God has made, and pass that curse to their offspring. In one dramatic episode, God decides to start over by destroying all life through a flood except for eight people: Noah and his family. In the Lower Story, those few given that second chance fail miserably to build the new world God envisioned, and evil continues to hold sway. But in the Upper Story, God makes the promise that he won’t ever flood the earth, thus teaching every generation that he is intent on redeeming what’s broken, not destroying it.

One feature of biblically-literate people is they tend to focus more and more on the Upper Story and live in that realm; that knowledge rightly colors how they approach and apply any part of the Bible. It is knowledge of that Upper Story that gets us through the hard times in life, more so than through the Lower Story information…”

Adapted, by Judson Poling, Willow Creek Church

Peace,

Aaron

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