Everybody loves a good story. Establishing the background from which a story springs is essential if a storyteller is going to connect with an audience. Failure to present the context of a lovingly crafted tale robs hearers of the ability to appreciate a story’s movement towards its climactic conclusion. You have likely begun sharing an impromptu review of a book or movie with a friend only to hear them say, “Stop, don’t tell me the end. You will ruin it for me!” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Sure it does. We have all had that experience.
This presents us with a curious question. When it comes to telling the Story of God, why do we often start in the middle, with the life of Jesus? Lacking the historical background of His life, Jesus is just another man who lived a long time ago. This is where most people are content to leave Him. To them, Jesus is ancient history. Without the context of His life, Yeshua is robbed of His real identity. Unfortunately, much of the blame for this lies with Christendom. Well over half of the the people claiming allegiance of any kind to Jesus are incapable of substantiating their claims that He is the Son of God. How did this happen?
All of the Gospel writers place Jesus within a historical setting. Matthew starts with His pedigree. Mark allows John the Baptist to introduce Him. Luke’s record starts with a friendly and instructional salutation.
The Apostle John’s Gospel account was the last to be completed. It is likely that by the time John sat down to record his version of the life of Messiah Jesus near the close of the 1st Century he had already read the other accounts. He shocked his audience with a lengthy opening statement (John 1:1-18). Reading between the lines, you can almost hear John pleading. “STOP! Don’t ruin the Story of God!” Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God used John to fill in some of the gaps left by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John began by going way, way, waaaay back. In fact, he went about 4,000 years back!
John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” – John 1:1-3
Don’t Argue With Maria!
Maria from the “Sound of Music” sang, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… When you read you begin with A, B, C…. when you sing you begin with DO, RE, MI….” That girl made some sense. Who would begin teaching the alphabet starting with L, M, N, O, P?
One of the best ways to share the Gospel with people and disciple those who believe is through the use of story. For them to have the desired impact in people’s lives, the Story of God should be told sequentially. The best place to start, is at the very beginning. Jumping ahead or from place to place robs the Story of God of its dynamic transformative power. The historical events of the Bible happened one event at a time. Each event progressively revealed who God is and what His purposes are. Like a scroll sewn together, the Story of God has been unrolled throughout time revealing the character and nature of God.
You Can Tell It
At Disciple Daily, we have been exploring the idea of systematically using the Story of God as the foundation of our disciple making efforts. Several of our network volunteers have identified twelve key events in the Story of God from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Each event builds on the previous one to create a comprehensive overview of God’s program for His Creation which includes angels, heaven and earth, and all humanity.
The twelve key events are easily learned and taught to others in story form that strictly adheres to the biblical text. They empower everyone to get in on the action of making disciples of all nations. Each installment in the Story of God includes a demonstration of how you should tell the story. There is also a PDF document including memory verses, a written version of the story, background information, and other supporting passages. The PDF information should be clearly understood before attempting to teach the story to someone else.
As a sample of what we are working on, you are invited to test-drive our first installment in The Story of God. Feel free to comment or give suggestions below that you think will be helpful in improving both our process and the final product. The operative word here is “helpful.” Haters need not apply.