The story continues...
Ask anyone who has read the Bible and they will tell you, it's difficult to understand. Luther Memorial Church, 420 South 4 th Street, hopes to change that, by offering a tool to help decipher God's words.
The church is undertaking a 31-week study of the book, "The Story," which according to Luther Memorial's Director of Christian Education, Chad Schuermann, "...is an abridged chronological book of scripture." He cautions that this is not the Bible, but merely an instrument to understand the Bible.
"We are not trying to replace the Bible," he furthered.
Schuermann says the book reads like a novel, but that the words are taken directly out of the New International Version Bible. Some areas of the book include "support" paragraphs that make scripture transitions easier on readers -- these passages are in a different font to make them discernable to the audience.
The biggest thing that both Schuermann and Luther Memorial Pastor, Rev. Mike Scholz want people to take from the 31-week book study is that the story continues -- we have not reached the end of time, so we are still in a time that the Bible relates to.
According to Scholz, the Bible begins with the creation of the heaven and earth and ends with the destruction of the old and creation of a new heaven and earth. "We are still in the middle," said Scholz about being part of the first heaven and earth created and that we have not witnessed the end of the time the Bible depicts.
To emphasize that message each service will end with Scholz saying, "As you go" and the congregation replying "The story continues."
Explore "The Story"
The book features 31 chapters, starting with the "Creation: The Beginning of Life as We Know It" and ending with "The End of Time." Each chapter is about 15 pages, with the book totaling 470 pages.
Each week the congregation will be encouraged to read a chapter. The following Sunday's service will be related to that chapter. After the service and during adult Bible studies, small groups will assemble to watch a DVD about that week's chapter.
The first week of the series was Sunday, Sept. 16. The series will conclude on Sunday, April 28. With the schedule laid out this way, the congregation will be reading and discussing the resurrection of Christ during the week of Easter -- Sunday, March 31.
"In a very small way we will experience what the New Testament people experienced," said Schuermann.
The biggest sell to the congregation, according to Schuermann, is that stories will not be duplicated -- which, according to Schuermann, happens in the Bible -- and most of the hard stuff, like the genealogy, is taken out.
With the many hundreds and thousands of stories, people need help finding and relating to the Bible, Scholz said. "They won't get slowed by the names and words they can't pronounce."
Children and teens are not forgotten -- there are books for preschoolers, grade-schoolers, middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, as well as an audio version of the book that syncs with the adult book. During Sunday School each age group will go through a corresponding chapter in the book.
The goal is to increase Bible reading within family units. "Parents don't feel educated enough about it (the Bible)," said Scholz. He is hoping that "The Story" will help facilitate family units and allow them to communicate about the truth of God's word.
Schuermann thinks the book will help people understand how they and the church fall in line with the Bible. "How do we fit in to sharing the message with the River Falls community?"
In these tough times Schuermann feels that people need to be reassured and know what a beautiful story is being played out, "...God had not forgotten us."
The book is not only available for Luther Memorial Church members, Scholz said. College students have been stopping in and purchasing the book as well. "They can understand this, 'how does God's story relate to us?'"
Books are for sale at Luther Memorial Church for $10, until supplies last -- the audio version is $30. Copies will be available to anyone for purchase. The church will have copies on-hand for anyone who would like to look through them at the church Sunday morning and throughout the week.
Schuermann said they are willing to help any other church in the area that would like to study "The Story."
Luther Memorial has services on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Adult and child Biblical studies are from 9:20-10:15 a.m. For more information about Luther Memorial Church call 715-425-2675 or visit www.luthermemorial.net.