Unfolding God’s story is our April step in Showing Grace as a Way of Life!
Just as with exploring a friend’s story and sharing your story, we have three phases of unfolding God’s story:
Knowing how to launch into God’s story is vital! Most of us feel as nervous as a 16 year old nerd asking a cheerleader for a date! But if you have genuinely explored a friend’s story and shared your own, you might simply say…
“It’s been great learning your story. I appreciate you listening to my story too. I have found God’s story makes sense of my story. I think you may experience that too. May I unfold God’s story from the Bible with you?”
Boom! Just say it! Pop the question!
Now the ball is in his/her court to give you thumbs up or down.
If you have invested in exploring your friend’s story and sharing yours, most of the time your friend will be willing to take the next step. If your friend says “yes,” figure out a good time and place to begin.
If your friends says “no,” ask, “What makes you hesitant?” And really hear and understand his/her response.
When you are ready to begin, you are free to unfold God’s story…
When you begin, introduce God’s story, saying: “God’s story unfolds in 4 major acts or movements.”
Act 1: CREATION
Say, “The first Act in God’s story is Creation.”
Turn to Genesis 1: 26-28 and ask your friend to read the passage.
Summarize the passage: “God made us in his image to flourish the domain to which he calls us.”
Briefly, recap from your story how you uniquely express God’s image and call to flourish your domain. For example, when I’m unfolding this to a friend, I would say, “God has made me to create moving experiences with people and to accomplish big things that flourish the city.”
After you recap how God has made you, ask your friend “How do you see God’s image & call to flourish in your life?”
Give your friend a chance to respond. Actively listen. Then affirm your friend by telling him/her how you see God’s image and call to flourish in his/her friend’s life.
Act 2: FALL
Say, “The second Act in God’s story in the Fall.”
Turn to Genesis 3:1-15, and have your friend read the passage.
Summarize the passage: “Eve and Adam fell from the glory for which they were created by sinning against God and experiencing shame, hiding, and blame. All the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve exist within a cursed creation.”
Briefly recap how you have experienced fallenness. (sin, shame, hiding, blame) When I recap my fallenness, I say, “My mom was sinned against so severely she passed on shame as she raised me the resulted in lack of relational courage.”
After you have recapped your fallenness, ask your friend: “How have you experienced fallenness in life?”
Give your friend a chance to respond as much as they are willing to share. After your friend offers his/her response, affirm their honesty, identify with any vulnerability your friend offers, and thank him/her for sharing the hard part of his/her story with you.
Act 3: REDEMPTION
Say, “The third Act in God’s story is Redemption.”
Turn to Galatians 3:7-14, and ask your friend to read the passage.
Summarize the passage: “The good news throughout God’s story is we cannot fix our own fallenness. So Christ took the curse we all deserve when he hung on a tree. Christ became a curse for so He might reverse or redeem us from the curse. Instead of believing we can fix ourselves, we must place our faith in Christ’s substitution for us on a tree.”
Briefly recap how you tried to rescue yourself but came to believe Jesus alone rescues you from the curse of fallenness. When I share with a friend, I say, “I try to cover my shame with drivenness to accomplish big things. But when my drivenness is opposed or someone doesn’t come through for me, the shame I feel about myself seeps out on them. I used accomplishments in cross-country and track, academics, and even ministry to try to fix my shame. But I have come to see that only the shame Jesus experienced on the cross heals my shame and sin.”
Then you might ask your fiend, “How have your relied upon yourself to fix your fallenness?”
Give your friend time to respond. This may be a difficult question for them to answer. Give them freedom to not have a good answer! However your friend’s responds, identify with what the connections he/she is able to make. If appropriate, suggest how Christ offers a rescue from fallenness your friend experiences.
Act 4: RESTORATION
Say, “The fourth and final Act in God’s story is Restoration of all things.”
Turn to Revelation 21:1-5 and ask your friend to read the passage.
Summarize the passage: “One day Jesus will restore all things from the curse of the fall.”
Briefly recap your hopes for healing of your deepest wounds and fulfillment of your deepest desires. For me, I often share, “I look forward to always being ok with who I am and to accomplish big things without ever making people feel like I’m disappointed in them!”
Ask your friend: “How does this passage give you hope for your wounds and desires?”
Affirm the hopes they express will become true for all who believe in Jesus to rescue them from the curse of the fall.
After you have finished unfolding God’s story, ask: “What thoughts and feelings do you have about hearing God’s story (thus far)?”
If you have only covered a portion of God’s story, ask: “When could we plan to walk through the rest of God’s story?”
If you have finished the story but sense they need to process further, ask: “Could we get together again to see how you are processing this story?”
If you have finished the story and sense Spirit is wooing your friend, ask: “May I explain how we move from fixing ourselves to faith in Jesus?”
Turn to Ephesians 2:8-9, and have your friend read the passage. After they have read it…
Define grace – “Grace is getting something you don’t deserve.”
Define save – “We are saved or rescued from fixing our own fallenness”
Define faith – “Faith is believing only Jesus death & resurrection is our rescue.”
Emphasize all the phrases that argue we can’t rescue ourselves (“and that not of yourselves, its is the gift of God, not as a result of works that no one should boast.”)
After your friend has absorbed this passage, ask: “Are you ready to move from relying upon yourself to faith in Christ?”
If your friend says “yes,” you may respond: “Let’s talk to God now to tell Him.” You pray and your friend pray.
If your friend is not sure, you may pray for your friend’s processing to close your conversation and encourage him/her to talk to God on their own.
If your friend is not ready to respond in faith, you may close by praying for God’s Spirit to make them ready in His time.
Again, to Unfold God’s Story, you…
2. Unfold God’s story (in 4 Acts)
Unfolding God’s Story in a way that connects your story and your friend’s story is the most significant conversation we can have with our friends. May we be a people who explore our friend’s stories, share our stories, and unfold God’s story!
Posted: 4.22.2016 in Outreach Ministry Share: