July 05, 2014

Our Story With God: a Good Start

Genesis 1:1-8, 26-31

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
—Genesis 1:1


What makes for a good story? In ancient Greece the philosopher Aristotle reflected on what makes stories powerful. He concluded that every effective story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. While this observation might seem obvious, he was actually highlighting some common misperceptions about stories.

For instance, every story needs a good beginning. The story needs to start by showing us people and situations with which we have something in common. While those people may live in settings that are very different from ours, there needs to be a sense in which we can understand how they feel and why they do things the way they do. 

The story of the Bible starts with a really good beginning. There’s a wonderful new world, created by God just for us. We have the chance to share this with God, forever. But we’re given a choice—we will need to accept God’s authority and his instructions if we wish to live with him. In other words, we will need to either embrace God’s presence in our lives or reject him outright.

You and I have been created to live rich, full lives in complete abandon to the goodness of God. Although our lives don’t look like that anymore, we still ache for it. That’s where our story begins.

God, we almost get used to the constant stream of bad news in our world. Please help us remember that you created us in the first place to enjoy full life with you. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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