This Sunday at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we begin a 31 week long program that focuses on a version of the Bible known as 'The Story' that has been put together by two authors, Max Lucardo and Randy Frazee. More details can be found here. 'The Story' is a chronological arrangement of the Scriptures that seeks to uncover how the different books in the Bible are linked to one another by a number of common themes.
Some parts of the scriptures appear in summarized form and others, particularly where there is a lot of repetition, are omitted. So, technically, it is not the whole bible but it covers the highlights. Whilst certainly not a replacement for Scripture, 'The Story' offers a way to glimpse the 'Bigger picture' that unfolds throughout the biblical books.
What is revealed through looking at the Bible in this way is that there is both an 'Upper Story' and a 'Lower Story'. To quote Randy Frazee; “In the Lower Story we are dealing with things in the here and now; paying bills, dealing with conflict, getting over a cold, finding a job, winning a race, stubbing your toe and what you say after you stub your toe. The Lower Story is our Story. In the Upper Story we discover what God is up to; how God is weaving our story into God's one divine love story.”
We'll also see how God uses the most unlikely strategies and circumstances to touch peoples lives and reveal God's purposes to the world. Throughout the Old Testament we will see many indications of how God was preparing to do something new in Jesus Christ. The New Testament gives us the story of His ministry and the developing life of the earliest church as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Whilst traveling through 'The Story' we are going to be looking at the same chapters in our worship, our bible studies and our children and youth programs, so hopefully this will generate discussion across the generations about the themes we discover. We'll be offering weekly 'questions to ask' (Chapter 1 questions are here) as people read the chapters, and of course, making the weekly sermons available on the sermon blog.
Copies of the book are available in numerous formats. A search at Amazon.com or any other book retailer reveals many bargains! If you choose to engage with 'The Story' I'm sure you can find a version to suit your needs.
The program has been used very successfully by many other congregations. Those who have experienced it say that it has provided a fresh way of understanding God's Word. Hopefully it will impact many of us in the same way. This coming Sunday we'll be offering an overview of the 'Upper and Lower Stories of the Bible'. As we begin this exciting journey I hope you will be in a position to travel with us!
For some music, a blast from the eighties, as Amy Grant sings; “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet”.
Rev Adrian J. Pratt B.D.