Now available! S3: Story-Shaped Students, Learning to Live From a Redeemed Identity by Jennifer May and Brock Sund. What the Bible communicates about identity and purpose. Story after story.
We are all story-shaped.
Like magnets to the refrigerator door, they adhere to both mind and heart.
Stories stir up the emotions that operate below the radar of the mind.
Stories impact how one views God, themselves, others, and the world.
Stories sneak past mental defenses and imprint the sub-conscious mind with both good and bad, truth and lies, fantasy and reality.
Stories transport meaning, ideologies, and values.
Stories create, reframe, and shift a person’s perspective, and thus, their behavior.
Stories leave indelible fingerprints upon our lives.
Stories shape us into the people that we are.
The stories of our family and culture (TV, books), both past and present, form our ideas of self, family, purpose, and even God. These “secondary” stories boldly weave their ideologies into our minds and distort life, creating a false reality where:
Man is the center of the universe instead of God.
Family produces dysfunctional adults who drain society rather than build society.
Relationships are self-centered and, therefore, fragmented and broken.
Life focuses on what is temporal instead of eternal.
Our hearts cry out for a grand meta-narrative that transcends our story―that gives value to the self, meaning to relationships, and purpose to this life. Such a story exists. It begins with God, “In the beginning God…” and ends with God, “Surely, I am coming quickly.”
That story leaves God’s fingerprint on lives, families, and society. It is a story where:
God is the center of the universe;
Man has purpose and dignity;
History has a beginning and a finale;
Trials and tragedies are transformed into triumph;
and Hope prevails and truth wins.
Some know fragments of that story, but even fewer know that story from beginning to end. Secondary stories replace that primary story when the light of that story grows dim. Consequently, man misunderstands the meaning of life and wastes his life.
Chronological Bible Teaching exists to blow on the embers of the Bible’s story until it burns brightly in the hearts and minds of God’s people.
Stories, the lives of individuals, and the Bible consist of six components:
A setting (Everyone has a personal, family, community—local and global—context)
Characters (Both positive and negative people are a part of our family-story, our communal-story, and our global-story)
Conflict (Turmoil exists internally, domestically, communally, and globally)
Movement (No life is stationary. Every day offers new story ingredients)
Climax (Every person, family, community—locally and globally—reaches a crisis point)
Subconsciously we want a story greater than our own and we know that such a story exists. Sadly, we settle for inferior stories (the characters in books, sitcoms, reality shows, and movies) and then wonder how we’ve become the people we’ve become—completely self-absorbed.
John Trapp warns,“As water tastes of the soil it runs through, so does the soul taste of the authors that a man reads.” The same truth applies to the stories we view and hear broadcasted on the big screen and read from a variety of sources. As water tastes of the soil it runs through, so does a person’s soul taste of the stories in which they immerse themselves.
Pure water comes by filtering water through different materials. A filter does for water what the story of the Bible does for a person’s soul. God story filters out the dross from the truth. It opens the eyes to spiritual reality—to the need of redemption. The Bible reveals the real God who has a real solution to the real problem of real people.
What happens when those within the church only know bits and pieces of His Story and cannot tell its story?
Sexual immorality and idolatry increase as the understanding of God, as He has revealed Himself through the Scriptures, grows dim.
When people don’t know life’s Creator and His Story, life simply does not make sense.
People live narcissistic lives when God is in none of their thoughts.
We must know His Story to know Him and to live lives with purpose and meaning.
We must know His Story so that we may pass it on to the next generation.
We cannot pass on to others what we do not ourselves possess.
Therefore, we must know His Story.