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“The Story of God” by Matt Papa /

“The Story of God” is an epic spoken word piece by Matt Papa on the Bible’s story in 10 minutes.

Buy a script for group performance of “The Story of God.”

> Let me tell you a story
it’s no ordinary tale
no it is the ordinary
from which every other story hails
>
> it’s the story of God
it’s the story of history
and I’m not the author
no, the Author is a glorious mystery
>
> see long before He would put
His pen to the paper
long before there was time
or before there was matter
>
> He was there, all alone
Father Son Holy Sprit
1 God in 3 persons
everlasting in existence
>
> completely satisfied
needing absolutely nothing
He was happy in Himself
and His joy was overflowing
>
> the Son in the arms
of His holy righteous Father
the Spirit overshadowing
all glorifying one another
>
> so why would this God
even bother to create
the fountain of all happiness
can you improve upon this state?
>
> well the joy within Himself
welling up at such capacity
was so full it must be shared
with a glorious society
>
> so the mighty Author, quill in hand,
to share His infinite mind,
His love His joy, sat down to write
His “once upon a time”
>
> in the beginning God created
the Heavens and the Earth
He made all things to reflect
His beauty and His worth
>
> mountains rivers oceans trees
all gladly testifying
endless stars and galaxies
declare His glory shining
>
> He made it all and it was good
and to culminate His work
He fashioned man
and breathed to life
His special ball of dirt
>
> man came to life with blinking eyes
& was welcomed by God’s face
they walked with Him every day and night
there was peace and no such thing as shame
>
> God said
be fruitful, fill the earth
and eat from any tree
except for this one
cause if you do you’ll surely fall from Me
>
> now why do this? and give this choice?
because He is writing a Story
and He’s about to show to whole world
The fullness of His glory
>
> conflict enters
early on in the script
with a snake in the garden
doing was he does best running his lip
>
> flashback to when
this evil was created
he was an angel of heaven
who fell when his head got inflated
>
> banished from God
and from His endless mercy
he came down to earth
to tempt us with the unworthy
>
> so there in the garden
on an ordinary day
he came to the woman and said
did God really say?
>
> that you should not eat
from every tree in the garden?
He must not want your happiness
or you would have total freedom
>
> so pridefully they listened
and sinfully they took
and scorned their creator
and they ate the forbidden fruit
>
> injustice. this, my friends
this is injustice
that God should be seen &
then treated as a nothing
>
> that man should completely forfeit his joy
and dig for fleeting pleasures
in the gutters of this world
>
> fallen now is all mankind
and sure to face His judgement
a world of pain, of toil and strain
and hell forever after
>
> but God would make a promise to
preserve Himself a people
and through the brokenness of man
o could there shine a hero?
>
> the plot line continues
some character development
all supporting actors
all fantastic as embellishment
>
> Noah found great favor
in God’s holy sight
and when God sent the floods
He mercifully preserved his life
>
> we come to Abraham
and God made him a covenant
He said “I will bless you
and make your offspring abundant”
>
> to Isaac and to Jacob
God would come and do the same
and though many dangers
came to threaten His perfect plan
>
> the story would go on
with the Author’s full control
and He would lead His people
everywhere that they should go
>
> flash forward now 400 years
in Egypt there’s a pharaoh
who doesn’t like God’s people
growing numerous in freedom
>
> so he made them slaves
but God came down and chose His servant Moses
a burning bush… a call to go
His presence was His promise
>
> go and tell that pharaoh now to
let my people go
so they can freely worship Me
in the place that I will show
>
> plagues.  numerous
God would show that He is the I AM
that pharaoh’ rule is like a pawn
in His glorious hand
>
> the waters part. the millions leave
to follow their great Savior
He guided them provided for them
though they were so ungrateful
>
> at Sinai God gave the law
so perfect and so pure
His people soon discovered
they could not obey these rules
>
> they tried they failed
they tried they failed
compelled to live in sin
they’d bow to worship idols
then they’d bow to God again
>
> they said to God “give us a king”
and that will make things better
God, their rightful king, assured them
this would be a fetter
>
> they insisted, God relented
gave to them their kings
some were good, led them to Him
some brought idolatry
>
> God sent his prophets
“turn back to God”
sometimes the people listened
but mostly they just gave a nod
cause they all wanted to be Him
>
> “God will not wink at your sin”
the prophets would all say
the people rose to eat and drink
and left to go and play
>
> God finally seemed to have enough
and brought a blaring quiet
the prophets ceased, the people waited
400 years of silence
>
> enter our protagonist
mostly unannounced
the plot is quickly rising now
>
> who is this guy?
nobody really knows
He meek…..He’s humble
unordinary hero
>
> but the craziest thing
about this character is well
unlike the other characters
this is the Author himself
>
> His name was Jesus
He was born of a virgin
fully God He was perfect
fully man He was learnin’
>
> different from all the others
but tempted just the same
in every single way we are
without a single sin
>
> He made the lame to jump
He caused the blind to see
and unlike the religious leaders
had some real authority
>
> cause He came from high
and He came to redeem
not to be served but to serve
His haters and enemies
>
> He loved, He gave
showed us the heart of the Author
claimed no glory for Himself
cause He came from His Father
>
> and we hated Him for it
cause we wanted to be God
despised and rejected
we esteemed Him not
>
> conflict escalating now
it’s starts with a betrayal
Judas whores his eternal Lord
for 30 pieces of silver
>
> a final meal a prayer and then
they head into the garden
where Jesus sweat with drops of blood
preparing for our pardon
>
> The soldiers took the Lord away
and led him to a trail
“are you the Son of God?” they say
I AM there’s no denying
>
> Except of course for His disciples
who left their Lord in fear
Jesus looked up to the sky
He was all alone from here
>
> they led Him to the Pretorian
and then began to beat Him
“who hit you?” they would shout and say
“oh Father please forgive them”
>
> they made His back a bloody mess
they whipped Him till he lost his breath
they threw the cross upon His wounds
the weight of sin 300 pounds
>
> the great eternal Lord of all
the Author of all things
now like a lamb unto the slaughter
would this be His defeat?
>
> they nailed Him to the rugged cross
they shouted out “where is Your God?”
He said “have You forsaken me?”
He takes a breath, His final three:
>
> “It is finished”  the Savior’s cry
and then He bowed His head
the Author of life the Lord of all
the Son of God is dead
>
> they laid His body in a tomb
then everything was quiet
as God’s people find themselves again
in everlasting silence
>
> 2 days pass
>
> on the second morning after Jesus died
Mary went to the tomb to take a look inside
>
> and when she arrived she was
met by an angel
she fell to the ground but he said
there’s no danger
>
> this Jesus, Jesus
is He the one that you seek?
Mary He is not here
He is risen indeed!
>
> Climax, its true
every good story has one
the part where you feel
a slight shift of momentum
>
> Mary sprints to go
tell the disciples
the Lord, He’s alive!
He’s alive like he promised
>
> Peter and john go
and see for themselves
but there’s nothing there
they said “perhaps He truly lives?”
>
> then Jesus’ words
came flashing to mind
they will kill the Son of man
but after three days He will rise
>
> momentum is surely building now
the enemy is limpin’
Jesus finds the 12 and then
He gives to them the mission
>
> all authority is mine
all in Heaven and on Earth
go and tell them I’m alive
go and tell the whole wide world
>
> and don’t get slack
I’m coming back
>
> Acts now the church is born
the Holy Spirit given
the news of Jesus
like the most contagious sickness spreadin’
>
> thousands saved. A mighty wind
is blowing through the region
the promise God gave to Abraham
we’re finally starting to see it
>
> Repentance and forgiveness preached
All in the name of Jesus
Sinners and saints alike proclaim
Our God has come to save us!
>
> the Gentiles hear the story and
the news is blowing up
the plan is working, the gospel spreading
from Asia to Africa
>
> martyrs laying down their lives
cause they know this story’s true
it’s a story like no other
it’s a movement you cannot undo
>
> Constantine tried to slow it down
and turn it into steeples
but an angry monk from Germany
wrote some holy gospel thesis
>
> it’s spread like fire, then it came
to America by sail
and here we are the twenty-first century
the gospel cannot fail
>
> It’s the greatest story
that’s ever been told
by the greatest Author the world has ever known
>
> but there is some still left to go
yes there is some still left to go
>
> see GO was the command
to every tribe and nation
and carry this great story to
this dying generation
>
> cause when this gospel finally spreads
across the whole of earth
we’re gonna hear a trumpet sound
and Jesus will return
>
> Heaven will be opened
and a white horse shall appear
and the One who sits upon it
all His enemies shall fear
>
> His eyes will be like fire
and His purpose will be glory
justice for all evil
life for all who love this story
>
> He’ll come to judge the quick, the dead
and all who’ve trod this world….every
knee will bow
and tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord
>
> death and hades He will throw
into the Lake of Fire
and Satan too that serpent foe
that coward that old liar
>
> the church will rise
surround the throne
and clothed in glory His
with every nation tribe and tongue
we will worship Him
>
> singing Worthy Worthy
is the Lamb
The Lamb who has been slain
blessings honor glory and power
forever to His name
>
> and for ages and ages
we will sing
the praises of
our God and King
>
> it’s the greatest story
that ever been told
by the greatest Author
the world has known
>
> yeah the bad guys lose
the good guys win
Jesus is Lord of all
The End.

Justin Taylor, “Do the Next Thing,” The Gospel Coalition (Oct 25, 2017)

Colman Macaulay, “A Lay of Lachen,” Poets of John Company

Kipling to Christ in Richardson’s “Lords of the Earth” /

Excerpt from Don Richardson, Lords of the Earth, Chapter 7, “The Weakling.”

One day his study uncovered evidence that Rudyard Kipling, foremost of his boyhood heroes, also drew inspiration from the Christian Scriptures, as Stanley himself was now doing. In a closing line of “If,” Kipling promised those who fulfilled his ideal of absolute, uncompromising manliness, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.” Stanley discovered that this expression paralleled a line from King David’s twenty-fourth psalm: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Ps. 24:1).

So, Stanley reasoned, pondering the poet’s meaning afresh in the light of this newly realized background, Kipling intends us to understand that a truly ideal man will share in God’s ownership of creation — he will be, under God, a lord of the earth!

Could this be true? ¶ Stanley recalled that Christ Himself also proclaimed, in spite of Caesar’s evident sway, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5)! ¶ And was not Kipling’s ideal man also meek? Doubted by others, he makes allowance for their doubting. Lied about, he does not deal in lies. Hated, he gives no place in his own heart to hating. Talking with crowds, he still maintains virtue. Walking with kings, he does not lose the common touch. ¶ All without looking “too good” or talking “too wise”! ¶ Suddenly everything began to fall into place! Christ was the only Man in history who fulfilled Kipling’s ideal to perfection!

Stanley gazed intently at the open Bible before him. ¶ Surely Kipling must have used Christ as model for his ideal man! Still more exciting, the spirit of Christ used Kipling’s poem as a tutor for Stanley! A sort of interim Old Testament to help an otherwise uninstructed boy see his need for repentance. ¶ How many other “interim Old Testaments” might Christ have at His command throughout the world, preparing otherwise uninstructed men for encounter with Him?

Later, perusing the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Stanley found a further biblical source for Kipling’s soaring promise: “For all things are yours, whether… the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21–23).

He saw it now — the echelon that man is meant to fit into, the echelon that rises above man into the Godhead and descends below him to galaxies and atoms. He saw also the secret of that echelon: Remain subject to everything above you, and everything below you will be subject to you!

“Lord, apart from You,” he prayed in ecstasy, “Kipling’s poem remains just that — an awesome if which no man can measure up to! But any man who is united to You can do all things through You, because You have fulfilled Kipling’s ideal and more!”

Thus did Stanley Dale find insight to complete his transition from Kipling to Christ.


“If— ” by Rudyard Kipling, 1910

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

How? /

The weary ones had rest, the sad had joy that day
And wondered “How?”
A plowman singing at his work, had prayed,
“Lord, help them now.”

Away in foreign lands they wondered “How?”
Their feeble words had power:
At home the Christians, “two or three,” had met
To pray an hour!

Yes, we are always wondering, wondering “How?”
Because we do not see
Someone unknown perhaps, and far away,
On bended knee.

A hidden one apart, but near to God,
Was claiming Victory,—
As they went forth to battle in His name,
“Lord, be Thou nigh!”

The hands were steady till the setting sun—
No need to “wonder” more,
How courage, faith and hope were all supplied
From Heaven’s store.

For this thy praying host who wait on Thee
According to Thy Word,
Who plead by day and night within Thy courts,
We thank Thee, Lord!

A gentleman gave me this poem at a Hillcrest Baptist Church (Dallas) missions conference. He was ninety years old and had spent his life translating the Bible in South America. It says well what we mean by being “lifted.”

“God’s most magnificent creation” /

“God’s most magnificent creation”

We stand in awe of the ocean,
The thunderstorm,
The sunset,
The mountains;
But we pass by
A human being
Without notice
Even though
The person
Is God’s most
Magnificent
Creation.

—Augustine

Quoted in Duane Elmer, Cross-Cultural Connections (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 93.