This past week we started a new series of messages titled “The Grand Tour: Your Passport to Adventure.” The idea behind this topical approach to the Word of God is to cover some “must-see stops” along the journey of faith. These are biblical themes that thread themselves throughout the whole narrative of Scripture. The season of Advent is less than 7 weeks away so our goal is to create a big picture approach to the Bible before we hit “restart” on the church year and return to our focus on Jesus.
My first message was on the grand theme of Creation and using texts from Genesis and Revelation as well as King David, the prophet Isaiah, the Apostle Paul, and, of course, Jesus, we looked at the creative and re-creative work of God through history, in our lives, and in the promise of the future to come. Creation is not an isolated, one-time event. It is an on-going act of God. Even as all creation “groans in anticipation of its redemption” as St. Paul says, God is at work making, sustaining, recreating, and ushering in its eternal future. Catch the message here.
But besides wanting to tour some of the great stops in the story of God, our goal is that the Word transform us, shape us. Much like a travel experience where you immerse yourself in the culture, the Scriptures will affect us if we open ourselves up to the work of the Holy Spirit. So, to move us in that direction, we close each message with a challenge question, one, we pray, has the hearer thinking more about a life of faith lived out in the week to come.
This week, our creation question is, “What does it mean for you and me to say, ‘God made me!’?” God. Made. Me. What does that statement mean to you and to me? How does it shape our response to Him and to life? For example, if I stand in front of a mirror and do not like what I see or feel like my life is a mess, what does it mean to fall back on the foundational belief that we were “created in the image of God?” What does it mean for us when we struggle in a relationship with our spouse, our neighbor or co-worker? What does it mean in light of scriptural instruction to love our enemy and do good to those who persecute us? What does it mean when our adult children don’t meet our expectations? What does it mean to claim the image of God for ourselves and for others?
See the challenge? Not easy, is it–especially in light of how the world tells us (and we tell ourselves) we aren’t good enough, or rich enough, or powerful enough, or pretty enough…that we have to do more, be better, etc.,…how we really aren’t worth much unless we meet someone else’s subjective standards.
But once the challenge to reflect on the question is taken up and addressed, it does not leave us without hope or purpose or the reality of the promise of Christ lived out in our lives. We live in a broken, sin-filled world, but we are not without Jesus, and because we have Christ we have everything, especially that firm foundation cry of faith, “He made me!”