Monthly Archives: May 2017

Chapter 4: Christ

As we follow the story of Scripture, we find that God’s people struggle to fulfill their part of the covenant God made with them. On their own, they’re never quite able to escape their past. The natural consequences of the fall–conflict with God, conflict with humanity, conflict with all creation–continue to affect not just God’s people, but all humankind.

It is into this darkness that God the Son does something entirely unexpected: Jesus takes on flesh and becomes a human being, becomes a member of God’s people. Not only was his coming unexpected; everything about him was unpredictable. Who would have thought the Son of God would be born to parents who were relative nobodies in a place not known for producing anybody remarkable? Who would have thought the Messiah would decline multiple chances to rally the troops to regain power and would instead make a choice to live among and for the least of these? Who would have thought the one through whom all things were made would submit to death, even death on a cross?

Jesus is not just part of the story. In many ways he is the story in microcosm. Listen to how N.T. Wright captures this sentiment in the following video.

Now take a few moments to pause and allow this video to lead you into a time of meditating on the gift of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Questions for Reflection

1. When you think about Jesus, what is it that draws you most to him?

2. In what ways have you been surprised anew by Jesus in the last week? In the last year or the last few years?

3. What about imitating Jesus comes easily for you?

4. What in Jesus’s life is hardest for you to imitate?


Living A Better Story Playlist

If stories form the script of our lives, music provides the soundtrack. This playlist–comprised of songs that explore the themes of the various chapters of the story of Scripture–is intended to help saturate our hearts and minds with lyrics and music that will help us with Living A Better Story.

Chapter 3: Covenant

The story of Scripture begins with the overwhelmingly beautiful story of creation. Before long, though, that beauty is marred by the sinfulness and selfishness of humanity, by betrayal of the deepest possible degree. What’s incredible is that God’s primary response to this betrayal is different than anyone could ever have anticipated. Not only does God refuse to enforce the death penalty initially mentioned as the punishment if Adam and Eve were to eat of the forbidden fruit. God responds to their failure with forgiveness and greets their fall with amazing grace. Even more than that though, God dares to pick up the pieces and try again. God risks another encounter with heartbreak, another experience with disappointment.

So God invites Abram into a covenant. God promises blessings for Abram and all his descendants. God envisions a hope and a dream for Abram and all his descendants: that they will be a blessing to all the people of the world. And at every turn, God keeps the promise. Even when Abram and his descendants fail to fulfill their calling, God never backs out, God never gives up, God always remains faithful. Again and again God chooses to take the risk of betrayal. Again and again God endures the hurt of infidelity. And again and again God remains steadfast and loyal.

Take a few moments to listen to this song that captures beautifully God’s unconditional love.

Now allow these words to become your own as a response to God’s unconditional love.

Questions for Reflection

1. In what ways have you experienced God’s faithful covenant love in response to your own betrayals?

2. How has God blessed you in the last week? In the last year? In your life?

3. In what ways are you sharing God’s blessings with others?

4. What is one new way you can intentionally be a blessing to someone else outside your closest circle of family and friends this week?


Living A Better Story Playlist

If stories form the script of our lives, music provides the soundtrack. This playlist–comprised of songs that explore the themes of the various chapters of the story of Scripture–is intended to help saturate our hearts and minds with lyrics and music that will help us with Living A Better Story.

Chapter 2: Conflict

The opening chapter of our story is as beautiful as can be. The beauty, the unity in the midst of diversity, and the wholeness that characterizes creation are a sight to behold. But in the blink of an eye, or the crunch of teeth biting into a piece of fruit, everything changes. In Chapter 2, the issue isn’t primarily about failing to keep a regulation, that’s just a part of it. The real issue is the fracturing of relationship that occurs when Adam and Eve do exactly what God told them not to do.

It’s quite clear what should happen next. It’s only a matter of time until the death penalty is enforced, after all God had been crystal clear with Adam and Eve that death would be the consequence if they disobeyed God’s command not to eat from the tree. But as it turns out, God goes against God’s own word. Though the facts undeniably warrant the death penalty, God is stubbornly and thoroughly pro-life. From the very beginning, God is a God of forgiveness and grace.

Yet even God’s forgiveness and grace do not nullify the natural consequences of Adam and Eve’s betrayal of God’s trust. Genesis 3 spells out the variety of ways in which their actions will cause all kinds of repercussions far beyond their own lives. But it’s vital to note that Genesis 3 is not prescriptive, in other words it is not portraying how things should be. Rather, Genesis 3 is descriptive, portraying how things are and how things will be because of the natural consequences of Adam and Eve’s bad choice. And almost immediately, God sets out to try to minimize the fallout and to try to bring about redemption in what otherwise seems like a hopeless situation.

The following video offers a chance to meditate on the ways in which sin fractures relationships and to focus on God’s desire for all creation to enjoy a sense of wholeness, both internally and communally.

Questions for Reflection

1. How have you experienced the fracturing of relationship that is sin?

2. In what ways have you caused the fracturing of relationship through bad choices you’ve made?

3. To whom can you extend forgiveness and grace this week, the way God extended Adam and Eve forgiveness and grace?

4. Who might you need to reach out to in order to begin trying to rebuild relationships that have fractured because of your choices?


Living A Better Story Playlist

If stories form the script of our lives, music provides the soundtrack. This playlist–comprised of songs that explore the themes of the various chapters of the story of Scripture–is intended to help saturate our hearts and minds with lyrics and music that will help us with Living A Better Story.