When I proposed to the beautiful Christy, it was a bit of shock to her.
In fact she hyperventilated and nearly fell out of the tree.
But that's a story for another day. Once she had said yes and we'd had a moment to bask in the delight of engaged-ness, I suggested we started calling people. Christy wasn’t so keen...
... she wanted time just to get used to it for herself before we started telling others. We told our family a few hours later and then it was 2 or 3 days before we started telling friends.
We moved to Darwin a week after getting married in Adelaide and a couple of years later we were still in Darwin when we discovered that Christy was pregnant. We were stoked. Most people wait till they are about 12 weeks pregnant before they start telling people. We were planning a trip back to Adelaide when Christy was about 15 weeks pregnant, so we decided to wait that little bit longer so that we could tell our family and friends face to face.
We have this hilarious photo that I'm hesitant to post online of Christy's 2 best friends, when she told them to pose for a photo together and then as she was about to take the photo said "Christy's pregnant!". The photo captures their first reactions and it is priceless! One showed pure delight. The other sheer terror!
The first time I saw my parents and sister and brother-in-law when we got back was at a 21st birthday party. I met them out the front and told them everyone needed name tags for the party and gave them "Grandpa", "Grandma", "Aunty", "Uncle" badges. It took them a little while to get it. But it was fun when they did!
When our son, Hudson was born, Christy need to have a caesarean and so there was a time after he was born where we were separated. I like to make the most of time. I had a phone. So I called my parents. I thought, 'I wont tell them his name, but I'll say that all is well and we have a boy!' Christy wasn’t so impressed. I think her words were along the lines of:
"I delivered that baby, I want to deliver the news!"
Ever experienced that? Either not telling it, or not hearing it the way that you wanted to? There have been many people put out over the years from finding out significant news on Facebook when they thought they deserved to be told in more personal way.
"We’re having a baby!"
"It’s a boy/girl!"
These are some of the big announcements that are really significant in our lives. These are important messages that we want to share personally with those that we love.
But the reality is that these things that are massive for us, don’t really factor in as significant news for most others.
Hundreds of thousands of babies are born every day. You can't comprehend that, let alone get really excited about each one.
But there are other things that affect massive groups of people. When a country's leader calls a press conference to make an important announcement, the whole country stops and pays attention. Chances are, its going to affect you whether you listen or not, so you might as well be informed.
When the recent fires broke out in the Adelaide Hills, it affected all those who lived in that region. It was their choice how much attention they paid to the CFS and others, but in that situation it was really helpful to be informed.
God's message isn't just for some people. It is for everyone. And it's really important. More important than any news a person could tell.
I have the great privilege of kicking off a series called The Story. It's all about the most incredible message that we have been given by God himself. As tempting as it is to get straight into the details of the first part of the story, it is important to go over some key points of how we came to have this message. You're probably already quite aware that I'm talking about The Bible.
God selected certain men to write down his words. There are 40 different men who wrote various parts of the bible. They lived at various times in history and most of them didn’t know each other. The writing time between the first and last parts was about 1600 years. Most of the writers were Hebrews and they wrote it down in their own languages they were speaking at the time - Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
The bible is a book of books, or a library of books. It is made up of 66 books, with two major divisions called "testaments". The Old Testament has 39 books and the New Testament has 27 books. The whole bible deals with God's people historically.
We will cover "The Story" in 12 sessions. That is not enough to look thoroughly into everything, but we will look at certain sections to help us understand God's message to the peoples of the world.
We'll start with the first book, Genesis, which means "origins" or "beginnings."
When we lived in Darwin, Christy found the heat and humidity quite a challenge. After all, her earliest memories are from north of the arctic circle.
There was one day in Darwin, a rainy monsoon kind of day. It was cooler, but I found it overcast and a bit drab. I arrived home and Christy had cooked cookies, cakes, maybe some pumpkin pie. I cant remember the exact details, but she was prolific. So many baked goods. She had come alive! As soon as a cooler day came, suddenly the idea of turning on the oven didn’t seem so ridiculous.
I want you to imagine that I had invited you to come over to our place on that day. You had never met Christy before and we walk in the door to the delightful smells of baked goods, seeing the cakes and cookies as well as recipe books, the mixing bowls and various ingredients on the counter. Even though you didn’t see Christy make anything, what are some things that you could assume are true of her?
She can bake.
She can read instructions.
She can do things in order.
She can make a variety of things - she is creative.
She can be careful - assuming there was no evidence of burns!
In the same way that by seeing what Christy had made, we can learn about her, we can learn about God through what He has created.
Lets take a look at the first two chapters of the bible, starting with Genesis 1:1-4...
1 In the beginning God created the sky and the earth. 2 The earth was empty and had no form. Darkness covered the ocean, and God’s Spirit was moving over the water.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, so he divided the light from the darkness.
If God could create the entire world with everything in it, what must be true of Him?
Now look at the end of the first chapter (verses 26-31)...
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness. And let them rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the tame animals, over all the earth, and over all the small crawling animals on the earth.”
27 So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. 28 God blessed them and said, “Have many children and grow in number. Fill the earth and be its master. Rule over the fish in the sea and over the birds in the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 God said, “Look, I have given you all the plants that have grain for seeds and all the trees whose fruits have seeds in them. They will be food for you. 30 I have given all the green plants as food for every wild animal, every bird of the air, and every small crawling animal.” And it happened. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good. Evening passed, and morning came. This was the sixth day.
In verses 28-31, God shows us that He is...
As we continue into chapter 2, we get another account of God making man...
Here are some key points we can take from chapter 2...
In verses 18-25, we see God make Woman and Marriage/Family.
Can you imagine a world without shame?
What impact has shame had on your life? I have always found the topic of shame difficult, partly because the word sounds a lot like my name Shane! Whenever someone says that "shame drove me to it!" I feel like apologising. But even apart from the semantics, shame has had an impact and caused me to both do things I wish I hadn't and stopped me from doing things I should have.
God created people who were totally free from shame, they were naked and felt no shame. Wow. A lot of us have an idea of what went wrong, but we're going there next week.
So what have we learned about God today? He is...
Eternal: He has always existed.
Supreme or Sovereign.
Completely independent over everything and everyone.
Creator and Communicator.
Spirit, not material or physical.
Present everywhere (omnipresent).
Infinitely wise (omniscient).
All powerful (omnipotent).
Personality: having mind, emotions and will.
Love: He shows His love to His creatures.
Good and perfect: His creation demonstrates this.
The only final Authority over all the world and everything and everyone in it, and humanity is dependent upon Him.