The current sermon series at our church is following a book called The Story. If you haven't heard of it, it is essentially what I like to think of as a Children's Bible for adults :). It doesn't have pictures or anything, but the authors have complied the major stories of the Bible, in chronological order. They took out the genealogies and minor stories, and then put them together as a chapter book-no verses or Bible books, just chapter titles. There is also a little commentary connecting the different stories. Certainly not the way to do an in-depth study, or build a doctrinal statement, but an awesome way to get to know the stories of the Bible.
The Story has been the focus of our sermons this year. Each week, we have a chapter or two we are supposed to read at home, and then the pastor teaches about that chapter at church that weekend. There are 31 chapters, so it will take us the better part of the year to get through. It has been an awesome thing for our church, and I'm really enjoying the readings and the sermons.
One thing our pastor keeps saying over and over is that the Bible has 2 stories-the upper story, and the lower story. As he reads the stories, he points out that the upper story is always the main story-God, sending Jesus to save us from our sins. God, continuously being faithful to His people. God, always having a plan that is bigger then any of the people in the Bible could understand (and us, too). The lower story is always the muck and mayhem that the people in that story have gotten into.
The Israelites getting stuck in the desert for 40 years...lower story. David and Bathsheba...lower story. The Israelites getting carried off to Babylonian captivity...lower story. And so on. These are the challenges, and hardships, and sometimes punishments that the people in each story were going through. But, they didn't change the Upper Story that God already knew was going to happen. And, each part of the story pieces together to pave the way for the Upper Story. Our pastor has been pointing out that the Upper Story is still going today and our lives are part of the story, even though we all have a bunch of lower stories.
As I sat in church last night, I began thinking that, in addition to THE Upper Story, we've all got our own-individual-upper stories. We've also got our own lower stories. Every decision we make, every place we go, every thing we do, every sacrifice we make, contributes to the upper story, or the lower story.
As a mom, I have so many ways I can spend the moments God has given me. I can cook, clean, shop, organize, teach, plan, play, sleep, socialize, exercise...the list is quite long of all the things I could do. In general, not one thing on it's very own is bad and the next good. It is not bad for me to cook a meal from scratch, it is not bad for me to organize my closet, it is not bad for me to vacuum out my car. In fact, all of these things are good things! It is also not bad for me to go shopping, spend time on Facebook, or go to dinner with a friend. It's not even bad for me to take a nap! However...any of these things I just named-if done at the wrong time, or with the wrong attitude, CAN be a bad thing. They can contribute to the lower story of my life instead of the upper story.
My upper story is the mission for my life-why God put me here. From the Bible, I know he has put me here to be a light for him. He has given me a husband and children that are MY responsibility-no one else's. He has asked me to be a light for him to my husband and children before any other responsibilities. So, I have to look at the choices I am making and determine if they are beneficial to my husband, my children, our family, and my challenge to be a light to them.
If I am being asked to build up my family, but instead I'm grumbling and complaining, I'm getting caught up in my lower story. If I'm constantly doing things that take my time away from my family, I'm again getting caught up in my lower story. The upper story is still going to continue. God has a way of bringing us back to His plan, even if we go our own way. But, it's soo much easier if we are trying to do His will and focusing on what he has asked.
I am going to be taking a deep look into our family story. I want to be sure that the choices I'm making are part of our upper story. I want to be building up my children and encouraging my husband. I also want to be an encouragement to you as you, hopefully, strive for your upper story. I hope to write more posts in the future to do just that.
For now, I challenge you to begin looking at how you spend your time, where you put your focus, and start figuring out WHAT your upper story even is. Are your choices pointing toward your upper story, or are they muddled somewhere bringing you down to the lower story? It's never too late to turn things over to God and let him help you start writing an upper story.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
I hope you will come again.