My men’s group this morning started talking about how we came to be followers of Jesus. It was interesting because it wasn’t a bunch of guys talking about theories of the atonement, the salvific efficacy of grace (okay, so I’m just stretching out old seminary words now!). Instead, we talked about stories. When I had my first child…
When I was at the bottom…
When I couldn’t believe in myself…
When I finally realized I was playing church…
It was probably one of the better discussions I’ve heard in a while, and that’s because it was rooted in the real life stories of people struggling and battling to follow Jesus.
I think it’s a fantastic idea for everyone to write their God-story. To write about who they were, who they became, and who they are now. The benefits are huge, really:
- 1. It reminds us of what God has done.
We see the trajectory of His work in our lives in the past, and it gives us faith and strength for what might be happening in the future.
- 2. It reminds us of the places where people we know and love STILL live.
The hardest thing for people who have been followers of Jesus for a while is to go back and remember and empathize with people in their “old neighborhood” of belief, life, and action.
- 3. It reminds us that we have something compelling to tell.
I think the fear of “spreading the Gospel” or “evangelizing” that most people have is rooted in a notion that sharing faith is about answering everyone’s questions or presenting the exact steps of the salvation message correctly. Or worse, the fear that it won’t “work” and that people will reject them. I encourage people to simply tell their story – who I was, what happened, and who I am now. That’s good news. That’s compelling.
Stories always capture the heart, the mind, and draw us in because they are (unless they are fairy tales) real. They have flesh and blood people doing flesh and blood things making flesh and blood mistakes and all the while praying there is something more to life than flesh and blood.
Jesus came as a human, as flesh and blood, for this very reason - So that a compelling story might transform the world. Write your God-story and see where your “flesh and blood” can bring hope, life, and transformation to someone else.
*I’ll be talking more about this on April 2-3 during our upcoming “Mountain Do!” series at Parkview.