Songs like “Blessed Assurance,” “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “Victory in Jesus,” and “Higher Ground” were staples in my home church. These songs and so many like them draw us together to sing in harmony the story of faith. “I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love,” wrote Katherine Hankey, putting words and music to her longing to proclaim the goodness of Jesus and his love to the world.

In CBFGA we, too, love to tell the story of Jesus. Specifically, we love to tell how Jesus’ followers, spread across our great state and around our world, are living his call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, befriend the friendless, welcome the stranger, and include the least, the lost, and the last. That is the old, old story of Jesus and his love, and we are committed to telling that story in better ways.

Our theme for the year is “Story,” and all of our events are connected to the idea that each of us is a part of God’s bigger story of creation, that we have our own story of grace, love, and mercy to share, and that we are called to continue sharing the story of Jesus and his love. In this issue of Visions, you will read of the experiences of CBFGA participants from some of our more recent events and ministry opportunities. If you follow our social media feeds and receive our monthly emails, you’ll hear more of these stories in real time.

The late Eugene Peterson, pastor, professor, author, and spiritual guide wrote: “Story doesn’t just tell us something and leave it there; story invites our participation. The Bible’s honest stories respect our freedom; they don’t manipulate us, don’t force us, don’t distract us from life. They show us a spacious world in which God creates and saves and blesses. We enter these stories and recognize ourselves as participants in the life of God. We are taken seriously just as we are and given place in his story — for it is, after all, God’s story.” (Peterson, “Living into God’s Story”)

This year, I hope you will join us in telling stories: our collective story as CBFGA, your congregation’s story as a family of faith, and even your own story of God’s grace and love in your life. “We’ve a story to tell to the nations,” the old hymn proclaims; let us tell that story together.

JODY LONG, Executive Coordinator CBFGA,

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