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Every story has a beginning—your story has a beginning. You might not think about it this way, but even the story of what you believe and why has a beginning, a “first chapter”. It was probably written sometime in childhood and filled with ideas about the universe and you place in it. Maybe it included some ideas about God. Maybe it didn’t. Regardless, every person has gone through moments when the rest of the story doesn’t seem to line up completely with the beginning. The complexities of adulthood forced you to reconsider the simplicity of childhood belief. Maybe it’s time to take a second look—maybe even rewrite—chapter one.
No matter what we were taught when we were young, we know in our grown-up minds that there’s something a little…off…about all of us. Something that gets in our way whenever we try to be the kind of person we would look up to. Something that seems to complicate or even disintegrate our closest relationships. We try and try, but we can’t seem to fix it. What is that? In this talk, Joseph reveals why it’s so important we identify the right problem before we can ever hope to get rid of it.
When most of us were growing up we heard things like, “God helps those who help themselves.” But most of us have had to revisit that assumption because, let’s face it, we’ve hit some challenges in life, done everything we could to “help ourselves” and still felt like God is absent. The beginning of that part of the story needs a re-write. So, if God’s going to intervene in my life at all, what do you have to DO to get on His schedule? What do you have to do to know for certain you’re not alone in the struggles of life?
What are rules good for? Why do religions have so many of them? Why can’t they agree on which ones are important? Islam has 5 pillars. There are 10 Commandments. Buddhism has an 8-Fold Path. What’s the point of rules and, frankly, what’s the point in keeping them? Are some necessary to get you into the faith club? Into Heaven?! If God’s all grace, how seriously should we take the rule-keeping?
What will finally take away the feelings of regret, guilt, shame, embarrassment or just bad memories you have from your past? Whatever you think about religion, isn’t it interesting that the only ones that stick have to offer some solution to this dilemma? If there’s a solution, maybe it’s another big, helpful idea that belongs in the first chapter of every life. You decide.