GOD IS A STORY-TELLER.

Story invites us; beckons us; woos us. It's the language of the heart and the interpreter of the soul. 

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Story possesses invitation, a way forward that invites pilgrimage into the complexity. A path that leads into more questions and life-giving conversation, not just short, pithy rhetoric that fits on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker. It's beyond maxims and anecdotes, beyond trite sayings and easy pat answers. Formulas and clichés cannot arrest the affections of the heart.

The way forward is through invitation.

Story invites us, beckons us, and woos us. It's the language of the heart and an interpreter of the soul.

Story, the recounting of a sequence of events, has been a formative way of understanding and learning throughout history. Story has a way of revealing to the human soul something deeper than information, something more than knowledge.

Story has a way of creating a bridge between the soul and the mind; a way of creating passage between the turbulent waters and the places of refuge, a passage between the brokenness of the human experience and the fullness of being human.

 

Story creates sanctuary.

 

No surprise then, that the scriptures are full of stories, that tell, and continue to tell one grand story; the story from which all other stories find their origins. From the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, God has, is, and will continue to inspire humanity to tell His story and reveal His glory.

Humanity is unlike the rest of creation, and it reflects the heart of its creator unlike anything else in His world. Full of purpose and intention, he designed humans for a specific invitation. After the design was complete, God saw fit to bless them. After bestowing them with uniqueness and blessing them, in one momentous transference of responsibility and authority, the creator invited His creation to join Him in creating and participate in His story.

 

Thus, becoming story-tellers.

 

God the Divine Designer invites humanity to know Him, be with Him, and show the world who He is and how He loves.

Story is one of the most profound ways He shares Himself with His creation.

 

#InTheStory

 

GOD IS THREE-IN-ONE.

Triune God: Father, Mediator, Guide /// wholly Father, wholly Son, wholly Spirit three in one.

 

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 Three distinct persons ONE glorious God!

 "There is no greater mystery in all the earth and no greater paradox in our understanding than the awe-inspiring doctrine of the Trinity. Words and images fall short of capturing the beauty and magnificence of the Father, Son, and Spirit making up the Godhead."

 ///

We don't go it alone in this life, for Jesus doesn't go it alone in Eternal Life.

The tri-unity — Trinity — of God's personhood is no mere technicality, but truly the central relationship of the Christian faith. It can seem confusing and get overwhelming. Metaphors abound, yet each word picture falls short of the good news for us from the eternal Godhead.

As J.I. Packer strongly reminds us, "The gospel involves all three persons—the Father, whose kingdom it is; the Son, who was to die on the cross; and the Holy Spirit, who brings you to new birth."

That's why we can pause from just inviting Jesus in our lives (since our lives are an abject mess), and rather take of Jesus' invitation as He invites us into His life. The Son welcomes us with open arms to know and enjoy the Father and the Spirit as He does. Imagine! Well, we don't have to create a new reality, for Jesus has set the world in order for us:

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." —John 17:1-3

This is the Good News! Jesus, the true and better Son, entered the world He and the Father and the Spirit made, in order to bring all the wayward sons and daughters home. He knows where we've been and went all in on our rescue. All of Scripture emphasizes this relationship, pointing to God's triune mission. We get to join Them! The Spirit makes us new, to join the work of the Son in the Love of the Father. God is Three-in-One.

Far before anything and anyone was created, the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoyed one another to the fullest and decided in creative unison to make the world, to create us in God's image. God had no need for community, yet wanted to share eternal joy. Love comes from God, for God is Love.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. —1st John 4:13-16

Let us abide in God. The Father, Son, and Spirit welcome us Home.

 

#InTheStory

 

Guest Author: Jeff Patterson; Renew Church - Oregon City, Oregon

@deTheos / @renewjeff

GOD IS HEALER.

He mends the broken; He restores the crushed; He satisfies the thirsty.

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O LORD my God, I cried out to You, and you healed me.

Psalm 30:2

 

I thought healing was only needed for the physically wounded. I never took thought as a child or even a young adult, that perhaps healing is offered for the lonely, afflicted, hurt, mourning, brokenhearted, lost, desperate sinner.

 

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with my brain tumor, while having a husband who was working two full time jobs, three children three years old and younger, and would be desperate for healing. I soon realized that the healing I so desperately needed and longed for, was really in my heart. I have sat in the trenches, the outskirts of loneness so many times over the last 3 years, especially, so desperate for a touch from the Lord.  He has allowed me to remain in a place of solitude, not physically, but, a solitude within my heart. A place where, I could draw so near to the only One who brings understanding and truth, to a place where the lies of this world, had rooted so deep that I never thought I would recover. You know, the place where, you have absolutely no control. That is where I have resided. On the airplane, filled to the max capacity, my husband and children surrounding me, as I loose control, in a panic attack. Where people turn and stare. Sitting helplessly in the doctor’s office hearing my tumor remains steady. Bringing physical aches, yet, not large enough for the naked eye to bring notice.


It has been in the place of intimacy with the Lord, that I’ve cried from the deepest place I have, for healing. Just as the ‘bleeding woman’ (from Mark Chapter 5) crawled out of solitude, so desperate and faith filled through the crowds, because she knew with full faith, that with just once touch from Jesus, she would be healed. He knew her touch. There were so many people reaching out for Him that day, but, I can imagine in her weak and weary desperate state, she knew she had to crawl out of solitude, no matter the cost, so she would be healed.

 

Maybe, just maybe, if we would cry out, for whatever healing we are in need of, from the trenches or mountaintop, we would be healed. Healing doesn’t always look like we would think it would. For me, my physical healing may not be for this side of heaven, and that is ok with me, as long as God continues to know, I’m reaching for His garment hear on earth. Healing comes to the ones who reach out. So, I will remain here, until His faithful work for my heart is done.

 

#inTheStory

 

Guest Author: Kim Fox Peyrouse - Denver, Colorado

@kfoxpeyrouse

GOD IS SERVANT.

He does not 'become' a servant; He serves because He is a servant.

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Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.

Isaiah 42:1

 

Jesus, holy God, served us by:

• Submitting to Father God

• Leaving heaven and coming to earth

• Taking on the form of a human

• Physically humbling himself before men and women as he walked this earth

• Taking on our sin, our shame, our guilt, and our punishment

Jesus, holy God, Majestic, king of Kings, and lord of Lords – came and bent His knee as a servant.

 

Why? Why did King Jesus come to earth and serve and live as a servant?

Did he serve as a means to an end – to shock the world?

Did he serve as a means to an end – to move us to love him?

Did he serve as a means to an end – just to save us?

• Or, did he serve– because he was and is a servant?

 

God as servant- is a moving and outrageous thing. That the holy Son of God, equal to and part of the Triune God, would submit to God the Father – is amazing. That the holy Son of God, who created time and space and was never hindered by time and space – came and lived and limited himself to our time and space is stunning. That the holy Son of God, who had only known eternal existence – placed himself in a temporary body – is staggering. That the holy Son of God, king of Kings bent his knee and served men and women – is humbling beyond words. That the holy Son of God, who knew NO sin – took on our sin, our shame, our guilt, our punishment – is outrageous. God as servant - is a moving and outrageous thing.

 

More outrageous – even scandalous – is that Jesus served because he is a servant.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights.

 

He did not serve just as a means to and end. He served because he was and is a servant-

and he still serves today.

• The holy One intercedes for us before the Father day and night. (Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25, I Jn 2:1)

• The holy One constantly gives us His grace. (Rom 16:20, II Cor 13:14, II Th 3:18, Rev 22:21)

• The holy One fellowships with us. (I Cor 1:9, I Jn 1:3)

• The holy One calls us friend. (John 15:15)

 

There are more ways that our God, who reigns and rules over all things, serves.

The amazing thing - the moving and outrageous thing - is not how God serves –

But that holy, majestic, almighty, sovereign, eternal God – is a servant.

 

#InTheStory

 

Guest Author: John Ryan; Preaching Pastor - The Summit; St.Louis, MO /// Acts 29 Lower MW Director

@ryansummit

GOD IS RIGHTEOUS.

He is just, holy, and equitable in all things.

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The song of creation and the Father’s love is all around us, filling every nook and cranny. It reminds us of more and stirs our affections. It's a song with which we are all familiar, like a lullaby sung to us night after night as a child. It holds a sense of nostalgia, a sense of home. The unmistakable atmosphere of freedom, safety, care, and provision. But the adversary follows behind, lurking in the shadows, distorting and manipulating, spinning his own version of the story.

 

We awaken to the reality of the fall.

 

The central revelation in the moment of deception was clear: humanity didn't trust the heart of the creator and looked elsewhere for satisfaction. Any time we don't trust and believe God, that's called sin. All of sin is an act of hostile rebellion against a perfect God. Consequence ensues.

Pain replaced blessing. Tears replaced comfort. Neglect where there was relief. Bruised and torn for whole and complete. Brokenness in place of peace. Isolation displaced family. Pleasure swapped with agony. Pride in place of humility. Longing where there was once contentment. Doubt moved in where belief once lived.

Naked.

Hiding.

Blaming.

Suffering.

Wandering.

Bound.

Full of Shame.

 

Where Adam and Eve once walked in complete bliss and in shameless, naked freedom, they attempt to cover their own nakedness and find covering among the trees. The serpent had promised them a bigger role in the story and had convinced them they could experience more beyond the relationship of their God. Disobedience hurts. Injustice cuts deeply. But the father, the creator of everything, pursues. The innocent who was wronged, the faithful who was betrayed, the lover who was rejected for lovers less wild, pursued. He searched, He sought, He knew... And with a broken heart, He went to Adam and Eve.

Outside of the garden, no longer beneath the creator’s wings of protection, where perfect provision met neediness, the man and the woman struggle. Eden still in their rear view mirror—with all of its memories, all of its perfection—felt so close, but it might as well have been an eternity away. There was no going back. They turned their backs on their creator, so they had to live with the consequences with every day that passed as the man and woman aged. As they started a family of their own, ebbing and flowing between struggle caused by sin and pleasure brought by grace, they would never stop longing for Eden. There would never be contentment apart from their God.

But the story doesn't end here.

God never stops pursuing His beloved.

#InTheStory

GOD IS DEVOTED.

I will be your God and your will be My people. 

 

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All-in. Unwavering. Totally committed. Devoted to keeping his promise.

 

After sin polluted everything in God's good creation hope looked lost.  Yet, God was not finished with us.  On the building site of planet earth He began his restoration work, calling one man - living in an idol-worshipping nation - away from all he once knew.  Through Abraham, the entire course of human history would be forever changed ... over and over and over again God would reveal Himself to be relentlessly devoted to His people

 

The God of covenant promise spoke these binding words to Abram, "Go from your country ... to a land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation ... I will bless you ... all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you."  God was calling out a people.  His people.  The repeated refrain resounds and reverberates from the pages of Scripture, "I will be your God and you will be my people" - words of devotion, unbreaking devotion ... words that are "for better or for worse."

 

However, in relation to their own devotion, God's people would be reckless.  Their devotion would falter, flicker and fade.  They were to be a blessing to the nations yet never really rose to that task. 

 

The nations would never be fully blessed until the ultimate descendant of Abraham arrived from eternity and onto the scene of time.  In the greatest demonstration of relentless devotion Jesus came, sent from the Father.  He was and is the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham.  In and through him, multitudes from every tribe, tongue and nation are being blessed.  In Him the fulness of God dwells.  Through what He has done we see the fulness of God's devotion to His people... and it's breathtaking.

 

One day, in the city of God, we will fully and gloriously realise the promise spoken to Abraham: He will be our God and we will be His people ... and we will dwell with him forever in that place of unending devotion. 

 

#InTheStory

 

Guest Author: 

Stuart Hawthorne; Belfast, Ireland

@hawthorne_stu

GOD IS PATIENT.

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Psalm 103 tells us “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

 

This seems to be the continued message of the Old Testament. The writers of the scriptures weren’t shy about their confessions, both personal and communal. The scripture is chalked full of admissions of the lengths to which we fall short of the glory of God…

 

But more often than not this line is connected to those confessions (as it is in Psalm 103)

 

The Lord is merciful

 

The Lord is gracious

 

The Lord is slow to anger

 

The Lord is abounding in steadfast love

 

God meets us in the depth of our rebellious defiance and his response is patience. He is slow and merciful and gracious and steadfast. He knows we are but dust. He knows we are here today and gone tomorrow. Fragile and fickle, we stumble through life swinging wildly between righteous and dastardly all the while, God patiently calls us to him.

 

There is reason for this.

 

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader there is a scene where Azlan the lion is getting ready to depart from the young Lucy again and she is sorrowful. She asks him when she’ll see him again and his response is simply “soon”. Not fully satisfied, Lucy asks what soon means for him. His response is wonderfully hopeful.

 

“Daughter, for me all time is soon”

 

You see God sees all of us. He sees our lives behind us and in front of us and everything in between. He knows where we are, but he also knows where he is bringing us.

 

God’s patient call to us is a perpetual soon. He knows where we are headed and he is taking us there.

 

Soon we’ll be with him. Soon we’ll be like him. Soon we’ll be truly alive. Soon He’ll change everything.

 

And so this is our world. Us toddling along toward the gospel tripping and falling and bruising our knees and thanking God for his loving patience…

 

…And God patiently, lovingly, calling us to the soon he can so clearly see for his children.

 

Thank you God for your patience. For your Long suffering. For your constant call.

 

#InTheStory

 

Guest Author: Sam Tunnell; West County Church; St. Louis, MO

@samtunnell

GOD IS ALL-CONSUMING.

He is overwhelmingly MORE; in Him all things hold together. 

 

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O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy."

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63v1-8

 

The fullness of this God collides with the vast emptiness, and He creates. He is everywhere, in all things, all the time. He was there at the beginning. He put everything in its right and proper place. He was there in pain. When death seemed to have been victorious and hope seemed lost. He was there in victory, when he triumphed over death and declared, "Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?" And He will be there in the renewal and restoration of all, when He puts everything back in its right and proper place... Again!

 

The All-Consuming love of God comes into full revelation in the person and work of Jesus Christ. 

 

God would completely and perfectly fulfill His redemptive plan and rescue mission through His son Jesus. Jesus was sent to be with His people, to show the father’s love and once and for all bring them close again. God said that He would be their God and they were His people. In His holiness, God does not allow sin to remain in His presence, and in order for humanity to be with Him, the people would need to be sinless. That's our problem; we are sinners, unable to clean ourselves and find our way home. Jesus, full of mercy and abounding grace, proclaims that we cannot, but He can; He has. Jesus, in His majesty and sovereign rule, substituted His righteousness for our sin. In the greatest act of love the world has ever seen, Jesus took our place in death and gave us His life. Because of His perfect righteousness, the father God now looks at His people and sees His son once again and says, "You are mine." The love of a perfect father accomplishes everything that sin never could.

 

Satisfaction.

Fulfillment.

Contentment.

Wholeness.

Fullness.

Joy.

Hope.

Rest

 

God is Love. 

His love is All-Consuming. 

- STORY catechism  

 

 

 

 

GOD IS COVENANT-KEEPING.

Unconditional; Unbreakable; Never-ending; Always-and-forever.

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Disobedience hurts. Injustice cuts deeply. But the Father, the creator of everything, pursues. The innocent who was wronged, the faithful who was betrayed, the lover who was rejected for lovers less wild, pursued. He searched, He sought, He knew... And with a broken heart, He went to Adam and Eve.

You are mine. I want you. All of you.

God would make a new promise with His people; out of His faithfulness, not theirs, God would make good on His promise. God would always continue to provide perfectly for His children.

Though God’s people would run from Him and go through droughts of forgetting Him, their God would never stop loving them and they would never stop needing Him. Though they would wander, He would remind them of His promise and bring them back home. Though their enemies would triumph, He would rescue them. He promised He would be the shepherd they needed most and that He would provide perfectly for them. He would be their father and He would be their home.

This truth was a promise God made to his people. This promise was called a covenant. It’s beyond a contract, more than an exchange of “I cross my heart and hope to die,” more than a mere agreement. A covenant is a commitment; it’s an unconditional, unbreakable, never-ending, always-and-forever kind of commitment. That's who God is. He is faithful.

The invitation to be with God was an invitation to know God, to know Him for who He is again, to know His character and nature—the loving goodness of a father. The psalmist writes, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34v8). Love seeks to repair and restore that which is broken and needy. Love moves toward the mess. It occupies the space between, refusing to allow the ugly to take root and grow. Love engages, rejecting passivity. Love gets involved. Love tills the hardened soil of our hearts until it's fertile to accept the seed. Then out of the new, good ground blossoms a bountiful garden. New life blooms from the fertile ground of love. This is the kind of love that God has for His people. In the Old Testament, this love was known as hesed love. Often translated "loving-kindness," hesed love is a stubborn love. It is described as a one-way love or a love-without-an-exit-strategy kind of love. It is a covenantal love that binds people together. It's this kind of love, a covenantal love, that makes God’s people a covenantal people. This kind of love carries with it a sense of intimacy, a deep sense of knowing. Love longs to be known, so love pursues.

 

GOD IS KNOWABLE.

He woos us;  He beckons us; He invites us to KNOW Him.

 

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Deep calls to deep... Psalm 42:7

The attributes of God offer a glimpse into the mystery of God. The attributes of God are innumerable. The study of His character and nature is inexhaustible. It's mind-blowing to think that we can actually know God, yet it's fascinating to ponder that we can never exhaust the bottomless ocean that is God. In every nook and cranny of this world, God is exposing who He is and telling His story, from the unknown depths of the oceans to the height of Everest. From the sheer magnitude of the universe beyond us to the complexity of the universe within us. From the miracle of birth to the burden of death. Amongst fauna and flora, He is telling His story.

GOD IS AT WORK DRAWING US TO HIMSELF SO THAT WE CAN KNOW HIM. 

GOD IS MAKING HIMSELF KNOWN IN THAT WE MIGHT HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM.

God's revelation of Himself is about relationship - To know God and be satisfied in Him. 

He is not a science to mastered although we see Him in science).

He is not a history to be excavated (although history tells His story). 

He is not merely a study to be completed (although we are invited to do so). 

He is a person to be KNOWN! 

It is in our imperfect seeking that we are humbled - and it is in our humility that we meet the perfect grace of the Father. 

 

Where there is INVITATION there is ACCESS.

God is KNOWABLE. 

#InTheStory

 

GOD IS RELENTLESS.

Covenant-keeping; grace-filled; without an-exit-strategy pursuit.

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The biblical narrative is full of intense and beautiful imagery from Eden to the cross. The imagery depicts a stubborn, one-way love (hesed) that never lets go, always pulling us back and beckoning a return. A first-hand experience, an intimate knowing and understanding (ginosko) that helps us navigate our way through the world. All the imagery, all the invitation, all to remind us. All to wake us from our slumber and revive our identity.

 

The revelation of God is an INVITATION TO KNOW HIM.

WHERE THERE IS INVITATION --- THERE IS ACCESS.

The greatest missed truth about the REVELATION of GOD is that all of it is for the purposes of Relationship.

At the heart of GOD’s revealing of Himself to the world lies the desire to share himself with His creation... Not because He’s lacking but because He’s loving.

 

#InTheStory

 

GOD IS HOLY.

There is truly none like our God; He is completely and perfectly OTHER.

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Since the beginning, God has been revealing who He is on His terms. The revelation of His heart, through His character and nature, is called theology. It's who God says He is, as specifically revealed in the pages of the scriptures. These innumerable attributes of God, the depths of which we are unable to mine, and His inexhaustible majesty are nonetheless made available to us through the scriptures. Throughout history, humanity has exhausted language and diction in an effort to better articulate who God is and what He is like. Our best words and attempts still fall short to fully describe Him. He is other, more, beyond, yet He’s here, near, and with His creation. He is infinitely good, and wholly just. He is completely and wholly self-sufficient and without need. He is righteous and good. He is other and set apart.

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1v15-20

 

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Hebrews 7:26

 

Jesus is holy. He is absolutely holy and set apart, which means that He is absolutely untainted, unblemished, flawless, full, and unlimited in all He does. This is a picture of purity. It denotes someone or something that is without defect. There is no way to improve it or make it better. It is already perfect. Jesus's holiness is the essential piece of His character that is necessary to be in the presence of a holy, perfect, just, and righteous father. Without holiness, we cannot be in proximity with the father, thus having no intimacy. Without the covering of righteousness, we cannot truly know God. Sin separates and creates distance. Sin drives us further from intimacy with God. This is the pursuit of the adversary and the great lie. To manipulate and distort truth that drives us further from true and right belief. "Behind all of sin is unbelief." The distance exposes our unbelief. The longing unveils our sin. The separation reveals our deep desperation. It's proximity and closeness that the heart of humanity longs for. It was closeness and proximity... a withness that saturated Eden. The holiness and righteousness of God, the essential character and nature that created, was what humanity knew. It's what we were created out of and for. Distance and separation is what Jesus rescues us from, and holiness and intimate knowing is what Jesus saves us to. Through Him, by Him, to Him, for Him, Jesus saves. The perfection, righteousness, and holiness of Jesus were essential to cover our unbelief. God the father, full of mercy and grace, covers Adam’s and Eve's nakedness in the garden with the skin of animals. Blood was shed to cover at the beginning, and it will be necessary to cover in the end.

 

#InTheStory

GOD IS SHELTER.

He is our REFUGE; always present in our time of need. 

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Biblical writers use the metaphor of sheep to illustrate us, the church, the people of God. These animals are a bit mindless, completely defenseless, incredibly dependent, and needy. They easily tend to wander off and get lost. Anxious, sheep find it difficult to rest.

 

Does this resonate?

 

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul."

Psalm 23v1-3a

 

The biblical concept of rest is beautifully deep and profound. In the Old Testament, God refers to Himself as the good shepherd, a phrase Jesus will speak of himself. The psalmist writes, He, the good shepherd, "leads me beside still or quiet waters and restores my soul." This word still or quiet, is the same word from which we get rest. It's the idea of settled security, where peace, quiet, and trust are present. It conveys the idea of relief. It's in this place, with Him, that our souls are restored. It's a place of belonging. As defenseless and anxious sheep, under the care, protection, and provision of our shepherd, we will find rest, security and strength again. Jesus echoes this invitation, "Come to me and you will find rest" (Matthew 11v28). The word restores used by King David in Psalm 23v3 connotes this meaning of "turn" or “return.” It carries with it the idea of repentance. It's the idea of a turning away from and turning toward.

 

we hear the good shepherd say, "Come to me."

 

#InTheStory

 

GOD IS KING.

 A King that is both fierce and majestic; a love that is intense and consuming.

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"Behold your king is coming to you...” - Zechariah 9:9

 

 "Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you."

C.S. Lewis

(The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

 

There are lot’s of ways in which God has revealed himself throughout history and throughout His word. Some are easier to relate to than others. For us in our culture and our day and age kingship is one of the most difficult. Not only because of the nature of indwelling sin that causes us to seek to be the greatest authority in our own lives but also because of the stigma of tyrant leadership throughout the world. Sovereign authority historically seems to be accompanied with oppression, greed, and consumption. None-the-less one of the most beautiful ways in which GOD has revealed himself to us is as a KING. It is important to know that God’s kingship has been set apart from the worlds authorities in every way. At the very core of God’s kingship lies the truth of righteous authority, sovereign power, and perfect desire for both a people and a place. It’s impossible to know GOD and to be with Him if we do not recognize His kingship over all of creation.

 

So what makes God’s authority so different than man’s? It is different in that it is birthed out of His righteousness. Meaning that God’s authority is not given to Him by some outside force or is there need for affirmation from others. God’s authority over His creation comes from both His right and His righteousness. His right because “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16) but not just his right but also His righteousness. God is perfect in every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, and every word (Psalm 18:20). So God is perfectly worthy and perfectly qualified to rule over His creation.

 

God also has sovereign power over all things. This means that there is no aspect of reality outside of His ultimate control. The beauty of GOD is not just His right but His power. There is nothing in all of existence that is outside of God’s control. The universe in general is upheld by the power of His word (Hebrews 1:3) but even more amazing is that specifically He is sovereignly at work in the hearts of mankind to bring about His perfect design (Proverbs 21:1). Understanding this is the first aspect of submission to the kingship of GOD. God is not a god of empty promises and impossible claims. What God promises to do He is able.

 

For us, God’s beloved, the most comforting aspect of God’s kingship will not come from understanding His worthiness or His power although they are integral to our worship. Our greatest comfort will come from understanding His perfect desire. God’s desire for His creation is birthed out of His perfect and holy character. Imbedded deep into the heart of GOD is a pure and ferocious covenantal love for His creation. His desire for us is perfect and His rule over us is filled with a type of gentleness, care, and love that we will never experience from the world. Submission to God as King is motivated by His love and perfect desire for us; trusting God’s rule as king is motivated by Understanding His sovereign power; worshipping God as King comes from seeing His supreme beauty and worthiness of our worship.

David Comstock

@redtreedave

 

#InTheStory

 

GOD IS FATHER.

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God is holy. His grander and majesty have been on display throughout creation since the moment His fullness collided with the vast emptiness and nothingness (Genesis 1v1-2). He puts His power and authority on display through merely speaking words and creation obeys. He is a Creator with a wildly insane imagination. David exclaims, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19v1). He exercises His sovereign reign and rule over His creation as He wills. He arranges and controls all things according to His own sovereign purposes. The prophet Isaiah declares on behalf of God, "for my thoughts are not you thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55v8-9). God asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding" (Job 38v4).

Surely we are to worship this God.

Surely we must fear Him.

 

He is other.

He is more.

He is magnificent.

He is good.

 

He is infinite, yet personal.

He is eternal, yet here.

Perfectly holy, yet welcoming.

 

But perhaps, the most provocative way God has chosen to reveal Himself to His most beloved in creation is...

Father.

The Apostle Paul makes a bold claim in the letter he writes to the church in Ephesus. He asserts, "there is one God, Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4v6). In the letter written to the church in Rome, Paul writes, "...you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father'" (Romans 8v15). Abba was a term used by children when addressing their fathers. It is a term of tender endearment by a beloved child. An equivalent English word would be daddy. As sons and daughters, with deep affection and complete dependence, we can approach God as our loving daddy. As a father, He provides, protects, and is perfectly present with His family. Jesus says, "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6v26). He loves with perfect precision; nothing is ever outside of our good, and everything is always for His glory. He has adopted us as His own and He has gone to the most extreme of lengths to remind us, "You are mine."

 

#InTheStory

GOD IS CREATOR.

He is an artist with an insanely wild imagination.

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In the beginning was absolutely nothing, but God was there. In perfect community, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit moved. In total harmony, the fullness of God collided with the vast emptiness...

and everything changed.

 

God created.

By the sound of His words,

with the breath of His lungs,

in complete authority, reign, and rule;

He created -- everything.

All of creation overflowed with purpose and meaning. Every babbling brook, every lush valley, every note sung by every bird in every corner and every nook revealed the heart of the creator. The unexplored heights of every mountain peak. The unknowable depths and enormity of vast bodies of ocean waters. The intricacies that enable ecosystems to sustain and sing. All of creation exposes the grandeur of its maker and king. Light pierced the darkness... sun, moon, stars. Sky separated from land and water... Mountains, hills, prairies... Oceans, lakes, rivers and babbling streams. Trees, plants, shrubs and flowers. Animals everywhere... Roaming, flying, slithering, and swimming. Blue whales and grasshoppers, galaxies and stars, lions and llamas, redwoods and fescue.

Not one miscue.

Nothing needed rescue.

 

God is CREATOR. 

#InTheStory

 

 

"God is ________."

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From the opening pages in scripture, in the creation narrative, God the Creator begins to reveal who He is. Through His character and nature, He unveils the depths of His heart. In a broader sense, this is called theology. Theology defined is specifically “the study of God.” It is the revelation of who God says He is, on His terms. God has revealed and is revealing Himself in and through the bible. We believe that all scripture, every word, every syllable, every dot on every i, every story reveals more and more who God says He is. The Word of God draws us to the author of the story. It woos us. It beckons us. It invites us, to the living God.

At its foundation, then, theology is God revealing his character and nature. Theology is who God says He is on His terms. Brennan Manning writes that theology is "faith seeking understanding." Traditionally, scholars and theologians have called these “attributes of God.” These attributes offer a glimpse into the mystery of God. The attributes of God are innumerable. The study of His character and nature is inexhaustible. It's mind-blowing to think that we can actually know God, yet it's fascinating to ponder that we can never exhaust the bottomless ocean that is God. In every nook and cranny of this world, God is exposing who He is and telling His story, from the unknown depths of the oceans to the height of Everest. From the sheer magnitude of the universe beyond us to the complexity of the universe within us. From the miracle of birth to the burden of death. Amongst fauna and flora, He is telling His story.

He is inviting us to know Him.

WITH INVITATION COMES ACCESS. 

 

Join us starting tomorrow, Nov. 1st through the 27th on a journey through the character and nature of God as we prepare for the ADVENT season ahead. 

CONNECT THE DOTS

 If we can’t connect the dots for our children, then some other narrative will.

Jesus asked His disciples, "who do people say that the Son of man is?" This question seems as relevant and timely today as it did then; who do you say Jesus is?

The timing Jesus asks this question is interesting. Like all good things naturally do, news about Him began to spread at an increasing rate. With each miracle and every inexplicable moment, Jesus's notoriety was ever growing. The people were trying to make sense of what they were seeing and what they were hearing, but they didn't have a fully formed compartment in which to place this man in. So the crowds were using their history to attempt to bring some semblance of understanding. They thought maybe He is the beloved John the Baptist? Perhaps one of the great prophets of the past have come back. Maybe Elijah, or maybe Jeremiah?

Jesus responded, "But who do say that I am?"

Moving with precision from "they" to now "you", Jesus purposely and intentionally began to dig down to expose the root and the foundation of their belief. Jesus was the master teacher. He constantly moved from the edges to the center, seeking to stir the deep waters of the heart. The depths of humanity innately know the language of the deep. And so, deep calls to deep to confront the lie that we can find the more we long for on the surface. This is a tender moment in which the conversation moves beyond the surface to the deep. A moment Jesus wanted to capture in order to further align perspective. Space Jesus created to let the disciples sit in and allow truth to settle deeper. Invited exploration that will lead to discovery.

As usual, Peter speaks up first. He confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One, the Messiah. One of the greatest joys for a teacher, a coach, or a parent are the moments when the proverbial lights bulbs would illuminate. The moments of awakening, where all of a sudden, at least for that moment, things made sense. I believe one of the greatest tragedies in the church is the inability to connect the dots. The inability to see the central thread that runs throughout all of scripture. We grow up learning what seems like a bunch of isolated maxims or disjointed anecdotes about stories that don’t seem to fit any larger narrative. We dissect the scriptures looking for principles to live by, or formulas to fit into. We grow up repeating easy clichés and pat answers without any deeper thought of what they actually mean or where these words fit in the larger picture.

No wonder much of the biblical text looks controversial and contradictory or, at worst, irrelevant and dated. It’s no secret that the authority of scripture is widely scrutinized. The western culture questions the role of scripture in our lives and the once-held belief that “it is biblical” doesn’t carry much weight anymore.

If we can’t connect the dots for our children, then some other narrative will. Some other narrative by some other author will arrest the attention of our family’s hearts and insert them as characters in its plot. Its storyline will captivate us and move us. A la, The American Dream. 

Who do you say Jesus is?