Thursday, 6 October 2011
In The Hands of the Master-Poet's First Ever Giveaway! -- Now Closed
The bigger picture has always captivated me.
The idea that God is on a rescue mission to restore the world He created and the people in it to relationship with Him-- and how everything in the story of our lives, and all the individual stories we're living, are all working together to that end, and how, in fact, we are invited to play a part in that rescue mission story... It puts things in perspective.
Randy Frazee calls this bigger picture the 'upper story' in his book The Heart of the Story: God's Masterful Design to Restore His People. He calls our circumstances as we see them through our human experiences the 'lower story'. What I loved about this book was the idea of taking the whole entire bible--the hundreds of memorable and not so memorable 'lower' stories of human experience -- and making a basic summary of it to repaint it in light of the upper story, the bigger picture. In these stories innumerable many of us have grown up hearing about, the characters were firmly entrenched in their own lower stories of human circumstance, just like you and I. And yet, when we stand back and look at the bigger picture the Word of God is showing, we can see the upper story significance of each individual character's lower story (Have I driven home enough the 'story' idea yet?). There is something so innately encouraging in that. I happen to be firmly entrenched in my own lower story, and need constant reminders of that upper story God's unfolding just beyond my human vision, closer than my circumstances tell...
I was excited when I was offered this book for review because I relished the idea of digesting the whole entire story of the Bible all in one big gulp. Frazee, a teaching pastor by vocation and the author of numerous previous books, didn't disappoint in his anecdotal summary. I often get tripped up in the minor prophets. I take them one by one as moving pieces of literature, but struggle to fit them into the chronological narrative of Israel's story. The Heart of the Story helpfully wove the myriad of true tales together in a way that I could cognitively see where they fit into the story in history. And Frazee did it while also lifting the reader's eyes up to the way it all fits into the bigger picture / upper story.
If I could make any criticisms about this book, they would be only from a point of view of my admittedly snobby literaturary tastes :) I sometimes found his writing style a bit juvenile, as if he was trying too hard to sound 'cool', but because I believe this was an effort to make God's Word approachable by anyone, I think we should let it slide ;) It was extremely readable and that can be hard to find when it comes to wrestling with Biblical literature and matters of Theology.
All that said, I think you should read this book! Who doesn't need some help to focus on the bigger picture when we are so caught up in our day to days? So... to aid you to that end, I'd like to offer In The Hands of the Master-Poet's first giveaway! I have an extra copy of Randy Frazee's The Heart of the Story: God's Masterful Design to Restore His People to give away to one lucky reader of this blog :) Ooh, exciting :) All you have to do to receive your free copy is leave me a comment explaining why you would like to read this book, and giving me some way to contact you so we can be in touch about where I should mail it if you win the giveaway.
So, comment, comment, comment! The contest will be open over the weekend and I'll contact the winner early next week. Let's seek out this God actively working to restore us to Himself, and let's equip ourselves to let the upper story, the bigger picture, the greater purpose influence the way we live our lower stories day to day. Let's be encouraged: "since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Heb. 12:1).
What a gift it is to live wrapped up in such purpose! And what a gift it is to have The Bible to be told of all the ones who lived out their stories for such a purpose before us. What did they do before they had those testimonies to look to and be encouraged by?
Yay for free giveaways of encouragement :)