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Known: Seeing Behind, Looking Ahead | Learning Guide

August 20th, 2023


As we drove along, skirting the Grand Teton mountains to our left, the setting sun lit them with an otherworldly glow. I felt time stopping, then moving in reverse. I saw myself as I was 40 years earlier, driving the same road, sitting staring at the same mountains, wondering about the time that had passed in between. Who was I then? Who am I now? Where am I headed?

These past weeks spent on the roads and rivers of my youth have had a profound effect on me. First, I am more grateful than I have ever been for the formative experiences of my youth and the incredible opportunities they have opened up for me since. It is not an exaggeration for me to say I wouldn't be standing here today, who I am today.

But that’s not unique to me. Our histories, our stories, define us. What is unique is taking the time, having the space and encouragement, to reflect on and understand those stories. And our world rarely allows for such space and encouragement. It would much rather define you by it’s story, a story of consumerism, raw biological process, conflict and competition, violence and loneliness. But this is not the story we have to live. We can live a different one, one of goodness and grace, beauty and redemption, truth and generosity.

These next weeks at Grace we will be looking at our collective story as a Church, while encouraging each of us to examine our personal stories. We will take time to share them, develop them and live more deeply into them.

Whether you have been part of the Grace journey for years or are just now starting out, this is a great time to lean in to being a part of Grace. I hope you will join us.

Grace and peace y’all,

John Ray and the Grace teaching team

Big Idea:

The stories we understand about ourselves and tell ourselves define who we are and who we are becoming.

Take Away:

Taking time to examine and define, understand and live into our stories takes space and encouragement, help to more fully and more clearly understand what our assumptions are about ourselves, God and the world we live in. Doing all this with an active Christian imagination is central to our apprenticeship to Jesus.

How does this fit with Belong, Become, Believe?

At Grace, living into the story of the Gospel starts with recognizing we are part of that story, that we all belong.

What's Next?

Next week as part of our Known series, John will share about our history as a church. Knowing where we’ve come from provides helpful context about where we are today and hope to be in the future.

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