In the Beginning by Preston Tollers
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
Psst. Can I let you in on a little secret?
I write because at my core I am a connector and I love stories.
Growing up, friends would joke about my catch phrase being "Wanna hear a funny story?"
Without realizing it, I'd jump into a conversation with this introduction and proceed to tell a story of some kind which somehow connected to the situation we were in or another story someone had just shared. So much so, friends would see my eyes light up and my mouth start to break open and interject my introduction for me, "Wanna hear a funny story?" I'd smile with "So glad you asked!" and go on to tell the story.
And the thing is, I don't think I'm the only one with a deep longing to connect. Actually, I know I'm not. Maslow calls it "belonging." It's a basic need we all have as humans.
Why is this? Simple. We were created for connection and relationship because we are made in God's image and He is the God of relationships. I love what Cole shared with us last week, "God made you for himself. He designed you in such a way that you’re only truly you when you’re in relationship with him."
It's beautiful, isn't it?
He is also the supreme author. He wrote a story to help us connect to Him and to one another and like my friend, Preston Tollers, says, to "better understand ourselves and the world we live in."
I'm honored to introduce you to this friend of mine. Preston lives in Oklahoma City and is a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He is a member of Crossings Community Church and has a passion for learning about The Bible and helping others grow in their faith. He is recently married and works as a physical therapist.
Today, he's helping us see The Bible not has a collection of separate stories but one story which involves you and me. In order to understand this story, we have to start...
In the Beginning
Have you ever introduced someone to a movie or book franchise? Did you start them with the first entry in the series or a sequel?
If you want your friend to properly understand and appreciate the story and characters of a series, it is best to introduce them to the beginning - the origin of the story itself. The first film or book usually sets up the background, setting, characters, and conflicts that will be crucial to the plot. If you skip the introduction, you may miss vital details that shape the rest of the story.
This may make sense for movies and books, but what about our faith? Do you recall how you were introduced to the Bible? We may start at the beginning, but how often do we read the Bible in order? So often we jump in at random places in between. If you feel like the Bible is confusing or difficult to approach, this may be a reason why.
The Bible is a story. A story that spans thousands of years and involves many different characters, but a story that has one unifying hero throughout.
His name is Jesus.
So how can we see Jesus throughout the entire story if His name does not appear until two-thirds into the Bible?
To answer that question, we need to start at the beginning. To understand the story of the Bible, we need to understand how it began. Let’s start with Genesis, the first book in the Bible.
Here is the first verse in the Bible:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1
Notice how the verse begins with “In the beginning.” Stories begin with phrases like this, which means the Bible is a story. We are not reading a rule book, textbook, lab manual, or anything other than literature. This informs what we can expect to get out of the Bible and in particular, Genesis.
You see, Genesis was not written to a modern audience to answer every question about the origin of the universe. It was written to answer worldview questions. These are questions like:
Who are we?
Where are we?
What’s wrong with the world?
Genesis 1:1 teaches that a God created everything in existence. More specifically, a God made the heavens and the earth, which is the sky and land.
We are told the personal name of God in chapter 2 of Genesis, which is YHWH (written as LORD in English translations). We are given His name because He is a personal God who wants to be known by His creation.
The rest of chapter 1 fills out the seven days of creation, which is God taking what is chaotic and establishing order out of disorder.
The last thing God creates is humans. Seven times He declares what He made to be good, and after making humans He called it “very good.”
The Bible begins with the story of creation. It is a story about a personal God who wants to be known by His creation, especially by the humans whom He created “in His own image.”
It is the story of a loving God who created a world full of beauty and order, with humans appointed to rule over it as God’s partners.
This is the world God made in the beginning and His intended purpose for creation. It is the entire framework for the rest of the story. By understanding how the story begins, we can comprehend how it continues in the person of Jesus. Through this, we will better understand ourselves and the world we live in.
When I first heard Preston share on Genesis, I was intrigued with how he pointed out how God created order out of chaos.
From the very beginning, God did this and set everything in motion to move in a symphony only heaven could orchestrate. The rhythm of day and night, the balance of land and sea, the nourishment below and the creation of man from dust to dust.
The details woven throughout - there's no way this could happen by chance. This was on purpose and for a purpose.
And God could have written this any way He wanted. It could have been a dry book of rules or one of those expensive-as-heck-but-only-used-for-one-semester textbooks or lab manuals. Shoot, He could have provided us the Cliff Notes version.
But He didn't.
Instead, God allowed a story to be written and to be preserved so we can read it today. It's a story because it's personal. He's the God of relationships and He so longs for a relationship with you and me.
Friend, we're just getting started. I'm so glad you're joining us and picking up this book - this book changes everything. We're on a freedom trail of sorts and we're just getting started! ...But we'll talk about this more next week!
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
We've been talking about the importance of consistency and variety for finding rhythm, and it's the same whether we're reading the Word or living an active lifestyle.
I've driven by these fitness classes for years any recently decided "Why not take the introductory class and see what it's all about?" Learn how you can add variety to your active lifestyle with one of these super fun workouts - Aerial Yoga, Bungee Fitness, Pure Barre, Hotworx!
If I can do it, you can do it, too! Whatcha say? Let’s try that...new fitness class!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
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