Some movies start at warp speed. You are immediately sucked into hyperspace! Case in point: the opening scene in Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. From the opening scene to the end it barely lets you breathe. If you slipped out for popcorn you were sure to miss something important. And yet, people did.
I am a movie fanatic. I think the way to maximize the movie-going experience is to be in your seat at least 15-20 minutes early. Never done that? Then next time you go to a movie look around and spot the person that is in the prime seat—dead middle, eye level with the center of the screen. That’s what 15-20 minutes early gets you. Popcorn and drink in hand, nothing will move this person from their secured spot for the duration of the movie. And, yes, I have been first in line for dozens of movie premieres. Some I was there hours early!
That’s where you need to be for God’s story. Its opening scene also starts with a relentless pace that doesn’t let up. The first line reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Right off the bat we find the main character in the story is not you or me... It’s God. And the rest of the story will unfold out of the nature and person of this character. Just ten words in and there is enough action to leave you breathless. This year as we read through the entire Bible there will more times you’ll feel this way.
It doesn’t take long to find out what God’s great passion is. Birds? Nope. Animals? Not quite. Sun, moon or stars? Bright guess. No. In Genesis 3:8 we find that God is walking in the Garden with Adam and Eve in the “cool of the day.”
Sounds nice this time of the year, doesn’t it? And yet the “cool of the day” is not the focus. God is... and he is near. He is right with Adam and Eve. And He is right here with us. His simple vision for His creation was to spend time with them every day, to take a walk with them. God’s supreme passion is to be with us. And we learn this from the very beginning.
Some of you have lived your life with the idea that God is some angry cosmic kill-joy who sits in the heavens and watches you, waiting for you to make a mistake so He can zap you with a lightning bolt or two. Or, you feel He is distant and doesn’t care or has simply forgotten you. But from the beginning He has shown us this is not the case. He wants to be with you. He has not forgotten you. In fact, this might be the perfect time for you to go for a walk. Please join us as we attempt to give God “Much More in 2024!” Read the Bible with us. Have a great week!
You are loved.
Ray Reynolds, PhD