This is a big week for our budding community.
We are kicking off our 12 months set aside for the purpose of laying foundations. We’ll begin teaching for the first time as a community. And the very first topic we’re tackling is… the Gospel! And in true AZ summer fashion we’ll be kicking it off with a pool party.
The Gospel is the story of God and humanity, and it’s one of my favorite things. In the God Story we discover who God is, who we are, and what he’s all about.
I’m excited and I’m nervous.
It’ll be great because I love the topic, and I love engaging in these kinds of conversations with these people. They have such beautiful hearts!
But I’m wary as I feel the weight of responsibility to:
- do the story justice
- communicate effectively to my friends
Makes me respect teachers who do this every week a lot more. I’ve got more insecurity popping up than a furry head in Whack-a-Mole.
Feel free to pray for us about all that, but enough external processing for now.
What I wanted to do is share some of the resources I’ve found to be extremely valuable surrounding the story of God.
#1 Adam Cox’s “The God Story”
Adam was one of our pastors while going through The Vision Course in Kansas City, MO. He is one of the most passionate and gifted teachers I know.
I listened to this series for the first time shortly after Lauren and I got married in 2012. We lived in a POS apartment about 2.5 miles from my office. I would ride my bike to and from work as Adam made emphatic point after point in my earbuds.
He has devoted countless hours to studying the story of God from Genesis to Revelation, and it shows. With Adam’s teaching you don’t just get a Biblical survey, you get the heart of the Father who wants a family of sons and daughters woven throughout the story.
And that’s why I appreciate it.
It’s a free download. Here’s the link.
#2 The Explicit Gospel
I picked up The Explicit Gospel shortly after it first came out in 2011. My boss at the time, Josh, was a huge Mark Driscoll/Acts 29 fan, and he may have even bought the book for me. I didn’t have much context for who Chandler was before reading it, and still don’t, if I’m honest, but it impacted me.
I think I brought it with me on a flight to Kansas City. I was flying out to help Lauren pack up her car and move home (that was a happy day for me!) It’s a little blurry, but I think I read it cover to cover between takeoff and landing.
He brought an emphasis on the greatness of God that moved me. I remember driving with Lauren somewhere in-between KC and PHX, and getting blown away by how God knew every rock we passed, and had watched it be formed over the years.
Also, I think it was this book that made me first realize that I am not the main character of God’s story. I mean, I probably knew that before reading it, but it became so clear that I lived as if I were in the center of this story. Nope. God is the main character. He’s the “big enchilada,” as my mom would say. I get to play a role—an important role nonetheless—but God remains firmly at the center of this story.
#3 The Story We Find Ourselves In
I read this book for the first time just a couple months ago. It was my first McLaren book, and I loved it.
The Story We Find Ourselves In challenged me in a lot of ways. It forced me to reconsider some assumptions I’ve had for a long time. I particularly appreciated the conversation it started in my own heart around evolution, creation, the atonement, and sin.
I’m still wrestling through most of that, and overall having a blast doing it.
I guess McLaren has pissed off a certain subsection of Evangelical Christianity, but I’m alright with that. I think he’s asking good questions and sparking good conversations.
I doubt TSWFOI and TEG have shared real estate on many blog posts in the past. The entire Creation chapter of TEF is a defense of historical creationism over evolution. Meanwhile, TSWFOI spends a significant chunk of energy dealing with that topic from the other side.
NT Wright deserves a quick shoutout. I read Simply Jesus several years ago and am reading Surprised By Hope now, and have watched some videos and listened to podcasts he was on promoting The Day The Revolution Began.
Wright has helped me piece together different parts of the story and turn it into a cohesive meta narrative that everything fits into. His work on helping us understand the Jewish worldview is invaluable. Although every page he writes takes me about 6 months to comprehend, I’m grateful for his voice.
The final honorable mention is my friend, Dayne Lukes. He helped lead the Vision Course discipleship school that I mentioned before. Every Friday for 9 months, Dayne would teach for 1.5-2 hours from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. His poetic heart brought a profound perspective to the story for me.
What about you?
What resources have been helpful for you in falling in love with God’s story?
Drop it in the comments.