Have you heard that a new Star Wars movie just came out? (insert sarcasm here).
Unless you’ve been stuck in your home with no TV, Internet, or other information outlet, you’ve been made completely aware that a Star Wars movie was released in mid December.
And it’s not just the movie, but the entire narrative and story of “Star Wars” has been given new legs to frolic upon, and for now, it has taken over American pop-culture.
The Dark Side vs. the Light Side shows up in car commercials. Lightsaber battles show up in Home Depot commercials. Ladies, you can even buy Star Wars themed makeup if you want to display your super fandom while you get ready for the day.
I'll come right out and say that I’m a big time Star Wars fan, and I’ve already seen it more times that I care to admit, but some of you are already over it. You were over it before Thanksgiving.
And that’s OK. Han Solo didn’t get it either at first, so I’ll hold onto hope for you :) .
Over it or not, Disney has been shrewd in their publicity, and is making bazillions of dollars on the advertising rights and merchandise alongside the movie ticket sales.
But it’s not just clever marketing.
Star Wars draws our attention because…well…it’s Star Wars. And Star Wars has become Star Wars because it is a grand-scale story of good versus evil. It’s a story of adventure. It’s a story of mystery, personal conflict, growth, redemption, and climactic triumph.
And with the Episode VII being released, everyone’s favorite story just added a new chapter. In this sense, Disney has found a temporary money tree, which would produce with or without much watering.
But while I realize that not everyone likes Star Wars, I’m pretty sure that everyone does like a good story, and when we hear one, something inside of us wants others to hear it as well.
Good stories are like that.
Stories are written for the purpose of being read. Stories are told in order to be heard. And when stories are shared with others, they become a common experience that deepens relationships, and can make fast friends of strangers.
God’s Work is Shared in Stories
The Bible is FULL of stories.
Genesis is the story of God’s creation and the early fathers of the nation of Israel.
The Gospels tell the story of Jesus’ life-death-and resurrection, particularly focusing years of active ministry while on earth.
In fact, the entire Bible is one big story of God’s work in redeeming his creation from sin and restoring His known rule and glory for all time.
In all of these stories there were real people in real places. People who had families, who had in-laws, who had jobs / trades. People who laughed and told jokes. People who enjoyed a good recipe and a good meal.
They were also people who were messed up and made huge mistakes. People who struggled with their faith. People who lied to gain advantage. People who killed in order to protect their reputation.
And that’s what makes the Bible such a phenomenal story. The bible tells of God’s grace and work in the lives of (and often in spite of) real people in real places with real lives.
And those stories in God’s word are meant to be read. They are meant to be heard. They are meant to be shared, because when they are we all benefit.
God’s uses the stories from His word to open our eyes to see how he works in the lives of people.
And maybe he reveals an area of our life in which he doesn’t authority over.
Or maybe he blesses us with a realization that we are forgiven, and because of His grace we don’t have to do anything else…ever…to gain his favor or please him, but out of our love and joy, and by the Spirit’s work we want to follow Him and obey Him.
Life is a Story
Your life is also full of stories. In fact, you could say that the greatest summary of your life is found in a collection of stories.
- Stories of how you grew up.
- Stories of challenges you faced in making it through college.
- Stories of how Jesus made himself real to you for the first time.
- Stories of how you blew it and utterly failed…again.
- Stories of how God’s grace gave you the ability to do something you never thought you’d ever do.
- And on, and on, and on.
And what’s crazy is that while your story reads differently than mine, but they are still the same story. The main characters are different. The places and settings are different. The conflicts and hardships are different, but there is a glaring similarity.
Both of our stories are contributing to one-big-story which is still being authored.
It’s a story is about how God has called you, and is redeeming you for His glory on this earth. It’s about how God has called me, and is redeeming me for His glory on this earth. But most of all, it’s about how God has called US and is redeeming US for His glory on this earth. It's the story that He's writing, and we get to see our tiny slice of the plot unfold in real time.
Your Story is Also Our Story
I grew up in Northwest Arkansas. You might have grown up in West Texas. And somehow along the way, God has brought us both together, here in Allen Bible Church.
While both of our stories add to His greater story, at Allen Bible, those stories also become our story as church family.
And that is why abcSTORIES has been created.
Good stories are meant to be told, and there are SO MANY great stories of God working in-and-through the lives at folks at Allen Bible, and most of the time no one ever knows.
But we believe that those stories need to be told…must be told. Because in being told, those stories will help to remind us that 1) That God is, indeed, working and 2) God delights in using the lives of real people, not perfect people, just like you and me.
So I hope that along the way God will use the stories we share to bind us all closer together as a church, but that you’ll also catch a glimpse of how God is working in the life of someone else like he has been in yours, and maybe…just maybe, that next chapter He’s been preparing to write will involve little-ole, boring-ole, gloriously-created you [and me].
And that’s a new chapter that we’re all excited to see.
May the Force be with you,