Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3–10 (ESV)
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:16–20 (ESV)Last Memorial Day our region hosted a major festival at a nearby lake which, it is my understanding, moved from its previous venue because of problems between it and the community. If you watch the promo video for this festival, and talk to people about it, then it becomes readily apparent that it is filled with New Age talk about our mother the sun, our being related to life on other planets, a heavy emphasis on environmentalism, yoga, native American influences, etc. At a recent community meeting to after action the event as they consider entering a contract with it the praises for the event gushed forth, and it was very apparent that the people involved with it were wonderfully friendly, the boost the local economy was very good, and other than some problems with the loud bass music throughout the night, it was pretty much fawned over. One man stood and testified that basically his life had been without purpose before and the festival had changed his life and now he dreamed about big things for his life.
My heart broke.
People are supposed to say those things about Jesus. About a relationship with God. About discovering their identity and purpose in their Creator—who is a very defined God, the God of the Bible.
If you haven't read my recent post entitled "Preeminent" I really encourage you to. Another post that came out this morning worth reading is one by Randy Alcorn called "We Need a Fresh Appreciation of the Gospel's Magnificience." I think it is always good for us to be reminded of the story and news we have been given custodianship of to share. It is stunning, awe and worship-inspiring, amazing, purpose and life-giving. It is truth, and in it is found the only good and true meaning to be found.
The reality is that God, and God alone, is Good. Therefore anything that is good will be found in and through Him. Think, even, of the people who have done "good" works in His name but whom He says He doesn't know and will be told to depart from Him (Matthew 7:21–23). The works are not good in a vacuum. He is the source of good and life, and anything good and of true life will have Him flowing in and through it, and will spring forth from Him.
As I said in the Preeminent post, we too often begin our story with Genesis 3, how man is separated from God. We somehow manage to take God's story and make even it about us. But it begins with Genesis 1:1 which tells us that in the beginning God already was. And Ephesians tells us that before the foundation of the world God had the plan of the cross in place to reconcile all things back to Him—all things that Colossians tells us were made by Him, and FOR Him.
He is the Beginning, and the End. In Him we live and move and have our being. He is the source of life and of good. Outside of Him there is no true meaning or purpose because we are outside of He who Created us for Him. We are outside of our created purpose when we are outside of Him. His story is more amazing and grand and stunning then any we could ever write. It is not bounded by time, or constrained by the word "impossible." He is God, and we use that word too frequently too casually. God. And God loves us. And God created us for Him, for His good pleasure. We are His, created for Him, and when we discover that we find our purpose in life.
And that is the story that should be changing lives.
What story are we telling?