Late last year, a 75-year old woman named Marion Shurtleff bought a Bible in a used bookstore in San Clemente, California. When she got home, she found some folded sheets of notebook paper tucked inside the Bible. As she unfolded the yellowed paper, she saw that it was a child’s handwriting, and she was struck by how familiar that handwriting looked. She found the first page and saw the name at the top, and began to cry. It was an essay that she had written to win a merit badge in Girl Scouts. It was written 65 years before, when she was a 10-year old girl…in Kentucky. No one knows how this essay made its way into a stranger’s Bible and traveled across the United States, but for Marion Shurtleff, it was an amazing gift; a treasure that unlocked a thousand childhood memories long forgotten. And she found it in the pages of a Bible.
The great thing about that story is that we all have the chance to find our story in these pages. The men and women whose lives are recorded here were normal people, just like us. They struggled with the same problems, weaknesses, and temptations that we do today. So when we read their stories, let’s not see them as legendary figures or spiritual superheroes. Let’s see what we can learn from their experiences. What do they teach us?This year, I’ve been preaching about representing Christ in a non-Christian culture. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be talking about faith. We think of faith as belief; believing in a certain set of doctrines, or believing that God is going to work a miracle if we ask Him in just the right way. But faith is really a series of decisions we make over the course of a lifetime. In each of these moments, these turning points, we have to choose whether to obey God’s plan or not. No one in Scripture bears this out better than Abraham. This Sunday, we'll look at his story, and what it teaches us about the journey of faith.