“The Story behind the Story cards”

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in A Language, A Plan, Blog, Story Cards | 0 comments

If you have taken a look at the Story cards, you might think I am a bit wordy. And while this is a true statement if you know me, I think it is necessary for the situation. What is the situation you might ask?

Here it is: I am a parent, and I believe the Bible. And I want to teach my children the story of the Bible in a structure that gives the breadth of this truth in words that they understand and also motivates them to want to know more. But I also need it simple, because I am crazy and tired and just trying my best to make sure everyone has on clean clothes and has been fed today.

We are still working it out, but we are having some amazing conversations at the Hagan house based on these 5 Story cards. Would you like a taste?

First of all, the Story cards are the foundation of our Christian faith framed in words that motivate my children. Five statements of truth or theology that I believe will provide my children with a solid foundation for their steps. There are three parts to each statement. Take a minute, grab your Story cards and read all 5 statements. Here is the first one: Father God loves, so I am loved and then I trust him. First, you have Father God behaving in some way – Father God loves. He started the whole thing, and he still initiates the story today. The second part of the statement is what happens to you because of his action – Father God loves, so I am loved. The last part of the statement is then our behavior – what we do because of what he has done and because of what has happened to us. So, Father God loves, so I am loved, and then I trust him.

This sequence is crucial. When I was growing up, I always focused on the last part. And my thinking went something like this: “I should trust God. That is the right thing to do and in order for him to love and accept me, I had better get this right.” When I failed, I felt guilty and separated from Father God. When I performed and checked off all the boxes, I experienced some false sense of accomplishment and thus I should feel near to God. But I never felt near him or really wanted to be for that matter. He was always shaking his finger at me telling me what to do. It was exhausting and relentless.

And the second part of the statement, “I am loved” never even entered the picture. I missed this altogether. I didn’t feel loved by God all the time. I messed up; I kept letting him down. So my being loved was conditional based on my behavior. This is the difference of living by grace vs. living by the law. And Jesus Christ came so that we did not have to live by the law anymore. We have been bought with a price for a new life in Christ. We are free to walk in his light as he is in the light. But somehow I missed this???

It is actually the last part of the Story card statements that we tend to focus most of our attention especially when we are teaching our children. Most curriculum for children I find or even wrote for a major publishing company focuses on the last part of the statements too. It becomes a list of “to-do’s” for our Christian faith and never the story. The “take-away thought” is always something for the child to do – be a good friend, serve God, love your neighbor, etc. And these things are good and true. They are in the Bible and behavior that Father God delights. But these behaviors are a result of what he has done first and what then happens to us because of his pursuit. We love and trust him, because he first loved us and we have become a person of love by his power.

This has been a great journey for Ron and I to move into a relationship with Father God instead of a religion. We lived long in the responsibility of our faith, and for some reason, missed so many treasures in his Word of what he has done, our identity in Christ and how these things provide a foundation and appropriate motivation for great adventures. We live and move and serve and love, because he has changed us and called us to his love.

For some time now, I have been trying to get to the bottom of these ideas – what makes a person grow in Christ? What should we teach them? And how should it be organized? Then, I compared this to my own experience and also added my own kids in the mix and saw what worked for them. I believe The Story Cards will motivate them to seek and know Father God for who he shows himself to be in his Word. And in this knowing, they will see who they have become by his invitation of life and love and liberty. And in that identity move into places of great service for his cause!

“The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12 in The Message

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