So… what IS ‚ÄúThe Story?‚Äù
Tomorrow, we kick off a year-long journey through The Story. It is the most integrated preaching/teaching ministry we have ever undertaken at Chapel Hill. Every Sunday School class, youth group, LifeGroup, Men’s and Women’s study…all of them will follow along as week by week, we read and work our way through The Story.
But a friend expressed concern to me yesterday: “Why are we spending a whole year in a book? Why aren’t we spending a year in the Bible?” So let me be clear: The Story is the Bible. It is an abridged version, meaning that it does not include every single verse. But everything it does include—and at 400+ pages, it includes a lot!—is taken straight out of the New International Version of the Bible, the same Bible we have in our pews.
Here’s what is different, though. The Story reads like a novel. The passages are strung together chronologically. And chapters from the Psalms or the Prophets are interwoven into those passages as they occurred in time. In other words, when you read about David killing Goliath, you also read the Psalm David wrote that alludes to that day when God helped him face his gigantic enemy. And in between the passages from the Bible, helpful, brief explanations of context and timing are provided by best-selling author, Max Lucado… in italics so that you easily recognize what is scripture and what is commentary.
I read The Story this summer and really enjoyed it. In fact, it brought a freshness to my morning devotions that had me excited about what I would read next… just like a good novel. But again, it is not a novel! It is the Bible… just arranged in a new way.
Of course, it’s not that new. Every Sunday we read one small passage of scripture out of the whole Bible, chosen by a pastor who then preaches on it. We’ve always broken the Bible up into smaller chunks so that we could digest it more easily. The Story does that for us every day—for the entire Bible—for an entire year.
I am excited about this journey. For the first time, most of us will see that the Bible is not just a collection of stories but rather one long, integrated story. And most exciting of all… we are going to discover that the great Hero of The Story doesn’t appear for the first time in the book of Matthew. Rather, we find whispers of Jesus that start in the first verses of Genesis 1! If you and your family are faithful in this journey, by the time we are done, you will be able to tell the Story for yourself… and point to the whispered appearances of Jesus from Genesis all the way through Revelation.
This Sunday we sell the books, and hand out specially prepared guides for LifeGroups, as well as children’s materials and family guides. You don’t want to miss it! We are gearing up for the journey!
P.S. #1 Our Harbor Baptisms were a Spirit-anointed experience! 250 folks showed up to worship God in the midst of our city. 23 who had signed up to be baptized were… along with 13 others who were compelled to receive the gift of baptism. I’m attaching a few pictures that will give you a glimpse of that experience, and in the coming weeks, I’m going to tell you two of the incredible stories of that afternoon on a Gig Harbor beach. God is doing something powerful!
P.S. #2 Don’t forget! Saturday Night at Chapel Hill starts September 19 at 6:30. Pray for this and tell your friends for whom Sunday just does not work!