The (Second) Greatest Story Ever Told

2WordStory, 27 March 2011

Big Idea

The upcoming E.A.C.H. campaign is about God’s story...and yours!


“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. - 1 Peter 3:15-16

Always be prepared to share your story. Can you share it in an hour? 30 minutes? 3 minutes? Two words?

Now is the time to order our gear and prepare our story. Beginning on Easter Sunday, billboards, bus signs, coffee sleeves, and other tools will promote 2WordStory. When someone sees you with your 2WordStory t-shirt, mug, or other gear, they will likely ask about it and then, BOOM!, you have an opportunity to share your story...and ask them about their story.

The E.A.C.H. strategy which focuses on your 2WordStory. If you missed it, I urge you to watch this video and/or listen to the podcast in order to prepare for this historic 40-day campaign that begins on Easter Sunday. You can get your 2WordStory gear here.

April 16, is the E.A.C.H. Prayer Walk. It starts at 9 AM at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit.

You can listen to the podcast here.

The Biggest Party Ever! 20 March 2011

Big Idea

God is preparing the greatest party ever! We are not only invited, we are to distribute invitations to everyone around us.


On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. - Isaiah 25:6-8

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. - Matthew 22:1-10

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
- 2 Peter 3:8-13


For the past several week’s we’ve seen how God lost something, and He wants it back. That’s the theme from Genesis to Revelation. People think the Bible is a complicated book. Not really. It’s a deep book with a simple plot. It’s a straight-up love story. It’s a romance. The Father created a Bride for the Son. In Eden, that bride was seduced away by a deceiver. But the Son came into that Garden and vowed to fight to win back His precious bride. You’re no throw away. You’re worth fighting for. And that’s what the whole Bible is: The story of the Son’s fight to recapture His bride. When that battle is over, when every last person who will come back to the Son has come back, the Father will throw the biggest party ever – a wedding party.

When this party happens, death is dead. Tears are gone. Sadness and mourning have no place at the table. It will be time to celebrate, because the search and rescue mission has been completed. People from every tribe and tongue and nation will party with God!

The whole Bible is a romance story. God lost something . . . and He wants it back. But what we learn when we examine the plot more closely is that what was lost was the bride for the Son. The King wanted a bride for His Son. We, humanity, were supposed to be that bride. We were not just “made for God.” We were “made for Jesus,” to be His very own possession, His bride. When the serpent came into the Garden of Eden, he stole away the heart of the bride from the Bridegroom. But the Bridegroom has been fighting ever since to win us back. Right now, the Father is sending out invitations to fill up the wedding hall for His Son. People everywhere are being invited into a relationship with God that gives them a ticket to the greatest party ever.

You know what E.A.C.H. really is?
It’s the King’s servants going to the streets to invite people to come to the wedding banquet of the Son. That‟s what we‟re doing. Handing out invitations to the greatest party ever. Many people will come. And many others will find excuses as to why they don‟t want to come to the Son‟s party. But our job is to be the inviters. The wedding hall will be filled with guests. God will see to that. Our job is to hand out the invitations: COME TO THE WEDDING BANQUET!

This explains why the entire story of the Bible ends with the biggest party ever – the wedding party for the Son and His bride. All of human history is moving toward this event – this massive wedding party. The Father will see to it that the Son WILL have His wedding day. He WILL have His bride. Everything in history is driving toward the fulfillment of this plan. The Son WILL be united with His bride, forever. That‟s what the last book of the Bible is about. The wedding of the Son and His bride.

When you read through Revelation, you can feel the anticipation building toward the wedding party of the Son. In fact, the actual title of this last book is: The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This last book is The Unveiling of Jesus Christ. The end of human history, as we now know it, is The Presentation of the Bridegroom.

Where is God right now? He’s waiting for more to come, for more to be found. And He wants to use US to do that finding. This is our job. This is what Jesus told the church to do. (Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:1-8).

And then, when He sees fit, the time will be over. The day of salvation will have ended.


You can listen to the podcast here.

Asleep In The Light: Shine! 13 March 2011

Big Idea

Jesus is the light of the world. He told us that we are now the light of the world, reflecting His light to our dark world as the moon shines at night.


What in the world is the Church?

- Body
- Bride
- Spiritual Temple
- Family

The “church” is a movement of changed lives.

I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. - Matthew 16:18b

The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
- Revelation 1:20

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20

So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. - Acts 1:6-9

Your business is not the end times; your business is the now times—the mission to seek and save the lost.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. - Isaiah 9:2

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life — in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. - Philippians 2:14-16

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. - Revelation 2:4-5

You can listen to the podcast here.

Lost and Found, 6 March 2011

Big Idea

In Luke 15, Jesus tells three stores: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. God rejoices when one lost child is found, and we are privileged to be able to be a part of His search and rescue mission.


God lost something…and He wants it back.

God uses people to reach people.

Jesus was a trouble-maker. The religious leaders were offended that He cared for the lost and even partied with them. He said,

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- Matthew 9:12-13

Jesus’ entire ministry can be summed up in Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

When we don’t understand God’s heart for people, our ‘religion’ can get pretty messed up.

The Pharisees grumbled over the very thing that heaven celebrates—the lost being found.

In the story of the lost son, the older brother didn’t have the heart of the father for the lost brother.

Those who think that they are close to God can, in fact, be as far from God as the irreligious, just in a different way.


You can listen to the podcast here.

For Further Study

The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

Just Like Jonah, 27, February 2011

Big Idea

God told Jonah to be a part of His search and rescue mission. Because he really didn’t care about the people of Nineveh, he took a detour! LORD, break my heart for the things that break Yours.


God lost something…and He wants it back.

God uses people to reach people.

“You are the salt of the earth.” - Jesus

The “found” have to be willing to become “finders.”

Most Christ-followers are not involved in the one thing that is most important to God—the search and rescue mission.

“Normal” Christianity at the outset was contagious Christianity.

Why aren’t we more engaged in outreach?

- Fear
- Inconsistency in our lives
- We really don’t care

Jonah was running away from God’s search and rescue mission.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:

“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. - Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah was running away from God’s search and rescue mission.

“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” - Jonah 1:12

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. - Jonah 1:17

And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. - Jonah 2:10

God cares as much about the messenger as He cares about the mission.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” - Jonah 3:1-2

The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. - Jonah 3:5

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. - Jonah 3:8

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.
God’s great desire is to free people trapped in sin; to forgive them and bring them home.
- Jonah 3:10

There is NO sin that is a match for God’s grace.

Jonah proclaimed a 40-day window of opportunity for Nineveh.

E.A.C.H. is our proclamation of a 40-day grace period for southeastern Michigan.


You can listen to the podcast here.

I'm A Priest! 20 February 2011

Big Idea

God chose the nation of Israel to bless the world. He has also chosen us to join Him in His search and rescue mission. Each of us is a priest, called by God to re-present Him on planet earth.


God lost something, and He wants it back. All through the story, God uses people to help Him in the search and rescue mission.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” - Genesis 12:1-3

God chose one nation so that He could bless all nations of the Earth.

Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - 12 sons = 12 tribes - Joseph

Joseph was a ‘type’ or ‘foreshadowing’ of Jesus: the rejected brother becomes the savior. Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb, giving His blood to rescue us from divine judgment.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1-2

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” - Exodus 19:5-6

God chose Israel to be a nation of priests who bring people back to God.

Law: training manual
History: record ups and downs
Prophets: commandment cops

The Old Testament is the story of Israel trying to do E.A.C.H.

Christ-followers are now God’s plan to save the world!

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. - 1 Peter 2:9-10

We are now priests!

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. - 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our obedience to Jesus is intended to make God look good to the world.


You can listen to the podcast here.

In The Beginning, 13 February 2011

Big Idea:

God was the first missionary.  He knew Adam and Eve were lost, hiding. Nevertheless, He came after them.


Then God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” - Genesis 1:26,27

He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” - Genesis 3:1-5

And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" - Genesis 3:8-9
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" - Genesis 3:15

“And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them”
- Genesis 3:21

“Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” - John 1:30


God made the world for us. He made us for Himself.

Satan challenged God’s love for Adam and Eve.

Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us.

The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.

God lost something…and He wants it back!

God was the first to go out searching for lost people.

God made a Good News Promise (the Gospel) that He wants everyone to have a chance to hear.

God made a great sacrifice to win us back to Himself.

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” - William Carey

You can listen to the podcast here.