We are just past the halfway point of our look at this year’s series in The Story. From June through mid-August, we will take a summer break from The Story, so it is a good time to review.
So, let me take you back to three goals that I placed before you at the beginning of our journey through The Story and ask you to reflect on your progress with each goal:
1. Know the Story: Do you know the story of the Bible better than when we started? Are the stories of the Bible beginning to fit together with the Upper Story of the Bible — the story of what God is doing in the world?
Here are two measuring sticks for analyzing how well you know God’s story: Are you able to in ten minutes or less give someone an overview of the story of the Bible, and can you place the main characters of the Bible that we have studied to this point in their place in Bible history?
Don’t worry if you don’t know everything in the Bible. I have been studying the Bible my whole life and keep coming across things that I have not seen before. In fact, it happened to me just this week. We can all keep working, though, to know The Story better.
2. Read the Story: Are you using the book, The Story, to read the one chapter each week that covers the story of the Bible that I am preaching on that week and that we are studying in our Bible studies and children’s classes?
Don’t just read the Bible from The Story this year in order to follow along with the messages each week, though. If you do not so now, determine to make daily reading of the Bible a regular practice in your life. I continue a long-time practice of reading through the entire Bible every year. That has been a good discipline for me. I use different reading plans and different Bible versions as I do so and thereby get different perspectives on the Bible stories and the Bible’s teachings.
This is much easier to do now because there are several Bible apps for our computers, phones, and other devices that have different versions and reading plans included. You may choose to read the Bible differently than I do, but it is important that you read it and re-read it.
3. Live the Story: Do you use the Bible to guide your life? The apostle Paul gave instructions in this regard to Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). As we live and look forward to being with the Lord, we need to shape our lives by the instruction of God’s Word.
When we know the nature of the Word of God, we really have no choice but to live to fulfill these three goals. Paul described the Word of God like this: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
This is a lifelong challenge and these are lifelong goals, but making God’s Story part of our lives makes our stories part of his Story.