Transforming Stories: “Where does your story begin?” (Week 3)

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Transforming Stories: How your story points to His Story! #3

 Where does your story begin?

Hebrews 11:1-3

[A message of hope given on January 15, 2017 by Pastor Jerry Ingalls to the First Baptist Church in New Castle, Indiana, where we exist to see the transformation of stories through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.]

As we discussed last week, every story must have a beginning, even if the beginning we choose to start telling our story from isn’t truly the beginning!  Even God started telling His Big Story at a certain point, even though none of us can ever fully comprehend the beginning of God—God has always been and always will be!

God started with 3 big words found in Genesis 1:1 and mirrored in John 1:1, both starting with these 3 words, “In the beginning…”!

These are words of faith!  I have heard it said that if you can believe & trust Genesis 1:1, then everything else in the Bible is easy.  What does that mean?  It simply means that if you can believe in a God that can speak all things into something from nothing, then everything else within that creation should be easy.  Why couldn’t God raise a dead man to life, or heal a blind person, or forgive you for what you have done and are thinking about doing, or heal a broken marriage, or bring a rebellious child back home, or ______ (your situation fits nicely right here!)?

God can…it’s all His in the first place!  That’s our hope and that’s our faith!

What is faith?

Listen to how the story begins for some of the greatest people in the Bible.  From the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11:1-3, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Even in the greatest faith chapter in the Bible, it starts with a reference to the beginning point of God’s Big Story!  These are real people, with real faith, in real history and even their stories must have a starting point!  It’s faith in God and God’s ability to create something out of nothing!

What is your, “In the beginning”?

I want to invite you to consider this idea; it’s not a perfect idea, but an idea that helps put structure to a starting point of your story, my story, our story together.  Why?  Because we must start somewhere and one idea is no better than another, so here we go, let’s start telling our story when we first experienced faith!  I didn’t say “learned about” or “read about” or “sang about,” but I did say “experienced”!

When did you first “experience” faith?  How did that experience change your life? 

That’s it!  That’s what we are talking about when I say “transforming stories through the Gospel of Jesus Christ”!  The Gospel changes things; it transforms the landscape of your heart, mind, soul, lifestyle, relationships…  It starts working in you and then through you a better story!

As we tell the stories of the great people of faith who are named starting in the very next verse of Hebrews 11 (“By faith Abel…” verse 4) we will see that our names (yes, your name too!) can be mentioned alongside their names.  We must begin to realize that your story, my story, our story has the power to glorify God, proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ, and manifest the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our midst!

As Hebrews 11:2 proclaims, here this truth, For by it the people of old received their commendation. What is the ‘it’?  It is FAITH! It’s faith that commends us to God and it is by faith we are considered righteous (approved, in right relationship, accepted) in God’s eyes!

FAITH is a resolute conviction, a wholehearted trust, that God can and will do that which God promised… “It is done” in Jesus’ name!

God loves to make something out of nothing!  He enjoys this so much that God anticipates, looks forward to, being able to do it in and through us!

When we tell the stories of our something (that which we have done by our best efforts, the only one who gets glory for that is us), but when we tell the stories of how God took nothing and made it into something in our lives, then that, THAT, brings glory to God and amplifies FAITH!  That proclaims the Gospel!  That gives substance to that which is not visible!  That gives the assurance (not insurance, ASSURANCE) that God can and will do that which God promises to do!  That makes God smile!

When does the Gospel start working its transforming power?  When you first believed, and put your trust in Jesus Christ; that is FAITH!

With hope in the transforming power of the Gospel,

Pastor Jerry

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